27 November 2018

One year on

1923- 2017
It's a year since my lovely mum died. The actual anniversary was last week. Kay took time off work, I bundled together my scars from my recent operation and we headed to Eastbourne. Mum used to live there until five years ago, when she was no longer able to live independently and I moved her to a retirement flat closer to me. Her ashes are down in Eastbourne, though, together with Dad's and we wanted to inspect the Book of Remembrance to make sure her entry had been written in it. It seemed strange being back and seeing all her old haunts. We had a look at her old house. The new owners had paved over the front garden lawn to make a car port, put up an ugly fence and had ugly brown blinds at the windows. It doesn't pay to go back to a once loved home, does it?

Kay and I checked into a seafront hotel and made a small holiday of it. Being November, the weather was not great, but one day we managed a long walk along the promenade to the foot of Beachy Head and on other days escaped the rain by doing some Christmas shopping. After my operation, the break was welcome and blew away some cobwebs. But everywhere we went, Mum was always in our thoughts.

19 November 2018


  1. worn out or ruined because of age or neglect.

    "a row of decrepit houses"

    synonyms:dilapidatedrickety, run down, broken-downtumbledownramshackleworn outderelict, in ruins, ruined, falling apart, falling to pieces, in (a state of) disrepair, creaky, creaking, gone to rack and ruin, on its last legs; 
    • (of a person) elderly and infirm.

      "a rather decrepit old man"

      synonyms:feeble, enfeebled, infirmweak, weakened, weaklyfrail, debilitated, incapacitatedwasted, doddering, tottering, out of shape, in bad shape; 

It's over four weeks since my big operation and I am slowly getting back to normal. The pain is slowly subsiding, the scars are looking less horrific and I am generally getting more active. I am now able to perform small tasks around the house and look after my own personal hygiene. Each week sees a difference in what I can bear or do.  The only thing I am not allowed to do is lift heavy weights, so vacuuming the carpets or carrying heavy shopping is not possible at the moment (hurrah).

At the weekend I decided it was high time I got back in the car to see if I could manage to drive. Not only that, I was worried the car battery might give up the ghost after so many weeks left unattended in the damp weather we have had recently. Surprisingly my 19-year-old car sprang into action as soon as I switched on the ignition and we were away.

I'd strategically stuffed a pillow between me and the seat belt to cushion any sudden braking, but I drove like a granny, as I was worried about opening up the scar or doing myself some sort of mischief en route.

I must say I have never noticed this before, but suddenly cars were right on my bumper expecting me to go faster. On narrow roads where cars were parked either side, cars came roaring towards me expecting me to pull over,when technically they did not have right of way, so I had to keep negotiating stop and start manoeuvres, where once I would have nipped through the gap in time. To my shame I have in the past wondered why the car in front was creeping along, when I wanted to go faster, or forced myself through a gap first when confronted by a doddery old driver coming towards me. Now I was that doddery old (well, hang on,  not so old) driver. 

It'll make me more tolerant in future. Next time I am behind a slow-moving car, I'll muse whether it's because the driver has not long ago had surgery or suffers from debilitating arthritis, so they cannot move as fast as they once could. I'll cut them some slack instead of getting annoyed. 

Meanwhile, give me a few more weeks and I'll be zooming around as per normal.

11 November 2018

They gave their today for our tomorrow

Image result for they gave their today for our tomorrow

A hundred years ago to the day, the armistice was signed between the Allied Forces and Germany to end World War One. It seemed relevant that the ceremony at the Cenotaph in London today was attended by the President of Germany as well as the usual observers from the Royal Family, politicians, statesmen and clergy. It is high time to forget the hostilities that brought about that war and make peace. I have written before that both my grandfathers fought in that war on opposite sides. 
My English maternal grandfather William was in the Royal Artillery and survived Mons, Ypres, the Somme and Passchendaele. He was wounded at the latter in 1917 and lost an eye, taking him back home for the remainder of the war.
My paternal grandfather Erisch was on the German side, fought both in France and later on the Russian front, was wounded in the leg and received the Iron Cross, something that sadly meant nothing when he (together with his young family) was kicked out of Germany in 1939 for marrying a Jewess.

When both men came together for the engagement of my mother and father in London, they were able to joke that they bet each was responsible for the other's injuries. It was good that they could bridge that gap and put aside the prejudices of war and nationality.  Amor omnia vincit. Love conquers all.

As I observe the 100 years celebration of the armistice, I wish that relations between Europe and the UK could easily be mended. But for those who gave their today for our tomorrow, France and Belgium would not exist in the way they do now.  Those leading protagnists in the EU should bear that in mind, when making life difficult for us merely to teach us a lesson over Brexit. With time of the essence, maybe a deal can be struck where neither side loses face but remembers, above all, how lucky we are and how thankful we should be to be able to vote in a free and democratic way.