Stayin’ Alive

Five months today since I smashed my wrist. Maybe I should have bought flowers to commemorate the day, but actually I did something far more exciting.

Bike in the Park

Bike in the Park

In the weeks following the accident I seriously wondered if I would ever get back on my bike. It stayed locked up in the bike shelter, gradually getting dirtier and dustier while I looked at adult push scooters, and waited for my fracture to mend.

I thought about selling my bike; unravelling the floral garland; removing the star shaped reflectors from the spokes; handing it over to a stranger along with my cycle clips, gloves and hi-viz jacket. It felt like betrayal. But I was scared. What would happen if I broke my wrist a second time? The talk of possible nerve damage when I was in A&E kept playing in a loop around my head. I’d got away with it this time, but a future when I couldn’t use my right hand made me cold with fear.

The consultant was reassuring. With all the metal in my arm, even if I broke it again, it would be in a different place. Rather haughtily I was told they had done all the wondrous and wonderful work on my wrist exactly so I could ride my bike again.

So the problem was me, how I felt, not my healing wrist. I kept renewing my bus pass and stopped looking at my bike. Deep down, I believed my cycling days were done. Continue reading

Internet Friends – Sal of Greece

I have made friends via blogging, and met at least four people due to this site, but this year Celia’s cousin has decided to become part of the blogosphere.

I have got to know her here in London, but she lives in Greece. Setting up her blog has been a trial and I know she is still having problems.

She’ll be in the UK next month, and maybe we’ll be gathered around a laptop experimenting. And I hope she is around for the poetry group. We met at the TS Eliot prize readings back in 2013. I had a bad cough and Sally saved me from a lynching by some of the audience by giving me a Werther’s Original.
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Postcards to Myself

I have been thinking for a while that so often when I am blogging it is about putting a post-it note on a thought, a place or an event, a memory alert: something that can take me back to a moment, a feeling or an observation I might otherwise forget. Post-it notes tend to be small, so postcards might be more appropriate, or, on occasion, letters.

I was making lunch, and while the lentils cooked with the onions and mushrooms, I thought to use the time to check out some poems for Tuesday’s poetry group meeting. I have a long list of tasks today, and this seemed a good way of maximising the time.

The theme this month is weather. There is a striking number of poems about snow, which doesn’t seem appropriate in August. I found one in a collection by Christopher Reid called Flowers in Wrong Weather, which I thought, to begin with, was about the unseasonal blooming of plants in winter, only to be caught in the last stanza when it became clear the poem is about loss and death. My heart lurched.

I turned the pages, pausing now and then to stir the saucepan’s contents. Continue reading

Welcome Home

Back two days but I have only just downloaded my pictures. I’ll have a good look through them soon. It is hot and sunny still in London, and the idea that we lit a fire in the sitting room at Cousin’s on Monday night seems somewhat unreal.

MasterB was pleased to see me, but not ecstatic. He has been well looked after by the Lovely Neighbours, who have confirmed that they are, alas, definitely moving next month. They were having doubts, but then saw a sweet flat with a garden where they will be allowed to have a cat, and the deal was done in less than twenty-four hours.

With Toy

With Toy

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Meeting My Virtual Friend

Home tomorrow, and enjoying my last hours in NI for the time being. Well mostly enjoying, but Westie Boy has been asleep beside me and passing extraordinarily smelly wind. Time for a change of diet I think. The cats have slept most of the day having feasted on most of a roast chicken. Fido looked like he could barely lift himself from the cushion, though he did manage to haul himself onto my lap when I got home from Belfast and sat out in the garden for a while.





There was both amusement and bemusement that I had been to meet a virtual friend in Belfast today. Cousin’s son was concerned she might have been a weirdo, and thought it strange I should go to meet someone I knew nothing about.

But I did know about her. The thing about this blogging business is you get to know a great deal about the minutiae of people’s lives. From the name of the family dog, to the colour of the sitting room carpet, all these details all add up.

I suppose someone could set up a alias and post pictures of dogs and rooms that had nothing to do with them, creating a whole false world, but I don’t see how that could endanger another person meeting them and eating sandwiches in the sunshine on a bench outside City Hall. Continue reading

Family Stories, Ernie Cole and Honey in Brown Paper

Bedtime now, but we have had a family day.

There were some moments, actually quite a few of them, as we sat around a table groaning with sandwiches and cake, when I wished I was recording the conversation to use in a play. It wasn’t only the stories, and as usual there were quite a few of them, some old and oft repeated, some new, but also the way one or two of the party demonstrated unconscious, unintentional comic abilities to throw the whole conversation into a different, somewhat surreal gear.

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Of Cats, Jennifer Johnston, Armagh and Debates

Some animals really suffer. Cousin’s cats are discouraged from coming indoors, though they stroll through the house with remarkable insouciance to seek out favourite spots.

As for the garden, there are insulated houses for them in poor weather, and one they particularly like on a neighbour’s property which pleases the neighbour no end, as he says there is not a mouse or a rat anywhere near.

His contentment even extends to forgiving Marple for stealing the meat from his plate when he was out of the room.

But the moment the sun shines, the favourite spot is the sun chair with its striped cushion.

Fido seems to have established the greatest claim, and has worked hard on perfecting his lounging technique.

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Not Forgetting the Other Pets

Just in case I gave the impression that meeting Pip had meant the other animals were forgotten, here are a few more photos from yesterday. Marple is missing. She was sleeping somewhere most of the day, and only appeared when I didn’t have my camera. Unlike her brother, she does not arrive the moment she hears a human voice. I get the impression that she is keener on hunting than socialising. The hen is also being reclusive. She is broody again, but there are plans to provide her with a fertilised egg. Her baby of last year grew into a large cockerel and has been relocated to another home.


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There’s a new dog on the block. Small, black and white, muscular and macho. A typical Jack Russell.

He belongs to Cousin’s son and his wife. They are living next door while they build a home up the road on a family field.

Pip was whining outside my bedroom door this morning. It was well beyond first light. Cousin might have thought I had done a body swap with Rip Van Winkle. I surfaced briefly to answer a call from Lovely Neighbour who could not locate the cat litter.

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