18 March 2015

Is is just me?

I've always taken the view that a car is a metal box on four wheels designed to get me from A to B. I can't be arsed whether it's brand new, a status symbol, has a hundred gizmos and does 200 mph. I just want it to get me to my destination. My wonderful aged T-reg (16 years old, no central locking, no power steering, not even a CD player but still going like a dream) is more than enough for me. It'll be no surprise then that I have never watched a single episode of Top Gear  and so I do not have the slightest regard for Jeremy Clarkson that the rest of the nation seem to have, if all the recent fuss is anything to go on. But, aside from all that, let's look at the evidence. This is a grown man of fifty something who, after a long day, apparently threw a strop after he was served soup and a cold platter instead of the steak he fancied. The hotel chef had dared to go home after 10pm (probably after an even more exhausting day than Mr Clarkson will ever experience). Furthermore, we are told, Clarkson lashed out physically at his producer because of it. So why is everyone signing petitions to keep him in his job and treating him like the victim?  Is this the behaviour of someone you would like to know? If he were a work colleague of yours, would you be less worshipful?  If he were a child, you'd surely send him to his bed or the naughty step. Which, I think, is what the BBC should do with him. Anything else will surely give him a bigger stroppier head than it seems he already has.  As for ITV lurking in the wings for a chance to nab him for their schedules  for some astronomical sum, they should be ashamed of themselves, as they are only rewarding bad behaviour. It's tantamount to taking him to Disneyland because he's attacked his granny. Or is it just me?

13 March 2015

Red carpet

The Baftas and Oscars have been and gone, so I was surprised to find myself belatedly getting a gong myself. The lovely Flowerpot nominated me a couple of weeks ago for a blog award on her Flowerpot Days blog. I have been very tardy in responding to the challenge, but am keen to rectify that now, so am donning my ball gown, high heels and bling to teeter along the red carpet and start the ceremony.

Here are the rules for accepting this particular award:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and link to their blog
  2. Nominate other blogs and provide a link where they may be found
  3. Go to their blog, leave a comment to let them know they have been nominated, and where to find the information they need to accept.
  4. Then  mention three things that inspired you the most during the past few weeks. 

1. So, first a very big thank you to Flowerpot for nominating me. I love her blog Flowerpot Days because she writes so lovingly about Cornwall where she lives and works. (Her stories reminds me of my lovely honeymoon in Cornwall many decades ago, where Greg and I once considered living,  if only we could have got work down there. We fell in love with Polperro and went for job interviews in Plymouth, but it wasn't to be and London beckoned instead).
2. There are so many blogs I read and return to and they are all good in so many different ways, or else I would not go back to them time after time, but three stand out for me at present and are worthy of this award. The first is Hippo at Hippo on The Lawn who writes a pretty good read on all manner of subjects about his life in Angola.  The second is  Kellogsville with her blog A Guiding Life, as she is a mine of inspiration in keeping young people busy with all sorts of projects. The third is Nota Bene and his blog Don't Panic. RTFM - if you don't have a social life, you can live one through him - I don't know how he finds the time to sleep, but he is a mine of information on culture and things to do!
3. Done
4. Three things that have inspired me the most during the past few weeks
  • my wonderful daughter - she is doing more and more in hospital as she is 98% of the way to becoming a doctor. She rings me regularly and tells me snippets of what she has been doing and I am so proud of the mature way she already approaches things and deals with them. I can't say I was that level-headed at her age. I am so proud of her.
  • the lovely man I have been employing to do all sorts of odd jobs for me - on the roof, the brickwork and fences. He always rings first to warn me he is on his way, arrives bang on the dot, does an extremely professional job in so many different tasks for a reasonable cost and always tidies up after himself. Furthermore, he declines all offers of tea or coffee, as he prefers to get on with the job. An absolute gem and worth keeping in the contacts book for future work.
  • good friends - I have two very close friends who have stuck by me through thick and thin since we met at university and have never failed to deliver.
Well, that's it. Thank you again Flowerpot for thinking of me and I pass the baton on to the three above.  Won't be a mo -  I'm just going to kick off those high heels and have a glass of champagne with George Clooney and Richard Gere .........

05 March 2015


The appropriate gift for a fifth wedding anniversary is wood apparently. Quite who in their wisdom first decided on this is anyone's guess. Why wood, for heaven's sake? But then again why paper for the first and tin for the tenth?  Champagne might be a better choice or a long-service medal. But wood? What are you supposed to do with that? Bash one another over the head with it?

Tomorrow is the fifth anniversary since Greg died. I can barely believe five years have passed. I used to hate it when he was away from home for more than a few days. Occasionally we might have the odd week apart if I went away on business or he had to go off with the BBC to cover something for a report. But I could never have envisaged I would ever spend five weeks without him, let alone five years.

Till death us do part. Vows taken thirty-nine years ago with hardly a thought that they might one day actually mean something. That death would us part. I mean, honestly, who thinks about death on their wedding day? I suppose if I did ever think about it, it meant that we'd grow old together until one of us was struck down by sheer old age. We'd totter about in our carpet slippers in our double room in an old folk's home until one of us simply fell off our zimmer frame. The reality was far from that. Twenty-eight years of wedded bliss, another six of alcoholic hell ending in his death and now five as a widow. 

Surely, I'm too young to be a widow? I'm often told I look even younger than fifty and I feel it too. Somebody told me the other day I don't even look old enough to have a 24-year-old daughter. (If you are trying to envisage what I look like, I am a cross between Twiggy and Lulu -  I kinda look a lot like Twiggy in this picture - here (from the neck up obviously, though to be fair less sticklike from the neck down!)   I don't feel old. The very word "widow" makes me feel a hundred years old. It's one of those words in the English language that immediately has negative connotations. 

I have a photo of Greg on my study wall behind my laptop. I look at it daily. Sometimes I talk to it.   I might tell him what he's missing in the world's news; or in our own life; or how Kay's getting on; or how bloody lucky he is to have got off scotfree with some of the problems I'm facing with the house at the moment. When we were together, he would help put the bins out or unload the dishwasher (both jobs I absolutely hate - in fact owning a dishwasher at all was Greg's idea - I actually much prefer the therapeutic hands-in-sink  option). Now it's me every time that  puts the bins out and unloads the dishwasher. He smiles down on me from the photo frame beatifically, as if it's all the same to him. "You're on your own with this" he seems to say. "Not my problem any more".

He will of course eternally be the sixty-years he was when he died, but at the same time he will have missed out on the experiences I or Kay or the world have had since in the last five years. He will never see Kay graduate and take her first steps as a doctor; nor will he take her down the aisle and see her married with a family. So, on this wooden anniversary of his death, touch wood, wherever he is now, I hope he is happy and his suffering was worth it. As for me, I shall never ever truly know why he chose to go down that path, but it's time I moved on and stopped looking back, counting the years, or I'll never see the wood for the trees.