Now it is December and Christmas is just three short weeks away. I have started to write cards, but without any great urgency, and I am sure it will end up with the usual furious flurry of stamps and envelopes and trips to the postbox.
I have expended far more energy looking out my favourite Christmas short story which is by Jane Gardam and comes from her collection of stories, Missing the Midnight.
I had a quick search online to see if I could find there to share, and I did. So with many thanks to the Montreal Gazette who published the story on their pages back in 2010, please enjoy The Zoo at Christmas. Continue reading
There’s a new cat on the block. A very large tabby. When I saw him the other day I thought it was Simba from across the road, but since then I have had a better look, and this boy is a heavyweight, and Simba is lean.
He is quite the most exciting thing MasterB has encountered in a long while.
Indoors, the ginger ninja is putting in lots of practice; leaping, running and attacking moving targets.
Which means me. Continue reading
It is a fun wonderful calendar and MasterB’s pictures are awesome with him being BIG up close and personal.
Forget about Beaujolais nouveau, le calendrier du Ginger Ninja 2014 est arrivé! The perfect present for the discerning friend.
I was surprised and pleased when someone looking at it asked me if the photographer had come round several times to capture MasterB’s charms, so I take it the result looks pretty professional.
This photograph was taken a moment ago under electric light and does not really do the cover justice, so maybe I shall take another in daylight and replace it. But here goes.
Mother would have been 94 today. Obviously I didn’t have to buy a card, but the day couldn’t go by without something to mark it and remember her.
After my post last week, Memories and Memorials, I had a bit of a think. I like Ruth’s idea of a small volume of Mother’s favourite poems, but there are copyright issues.
So today, I had some copies of poems with me. When I met a likely person, I offered the poems face down in a fan shape and so they could choose one. Beneath each one I had written this:
This is a poem that my mother Anne, 26th November 1919-1st May 2013, loved to listen to. Please enjoy and share it.
I hoped people would read them aloud to someone else. One person did and I stayed to listen. Maybe the others will do so later with friends and family. Over the next few days, I plan to distribute some more copies in the pub, a local café, a shop. As I write this I am wondering if 26th November will become my owm personal Poetry Day. So if you are reading this and nodding, grab a poem that you like and read it aloud. If there is no one with you, share the words with yourself and the day, and feel the power of poetry. Continue reading
The memorial was fab. Honestly, occasions like this could give death a good name. Except of course it would have been a lot more fun if Caroline were still alive. I bet it was something like this that spawned This is Your Life. Like at great funerals, we cried, we laughed, we even sang. I could get a taste for champagne at elevenses.
Maria’s comment about her mother’s funeral kept coming back to me. In case you don’t remember it, this is what she said:
the funeral brought to us all her friends and all our friends and, thus, we were, and are, surrounded and supported by their love and by the different aspects of her personality they unfold before us
On Sunday there’s a memorial service for Caroline. She died just before Christmas last year and I still keep expecting to see her in Marks and Spencer somewhere near the veg counter.
It’s been a year of deaths.
My dear friend Maria lost her mother recently. Afterwards she wrote to me: “The funeral was very much like her. We all felt it matched her life perfectly. So we were all comforted by it.
And the funeral brought to us all her friends and all our friends and, thus, we were, and are, surrounded and supported by their love and by the different aspects of her personality they unfold before us.
I feel grateful to have had her as a mother and as a lifelong honest, generous and loyal companion.”
A good funeral then, but I can’t read Maria’s words without welling up. That awful disorientating period of adjusting has begun. There is no way back.
My friend Celia also lost her mother. For some weeks we had the dying mothers conversation, and Celia’s Mother was the one identified as being on the road with no return, with Mother merely frail in second place. Then Mother suddenly accelerated, sped into the fast lane and died first. Celia was, by chance, one of the last people I spoke to in London before heading East for those final days. Continue reading
More fiddly bits for the boy’s calendar. I had assumed the printer would have templates for the months of the calendar. Wrong. So that was a new task for today.
Julia wanted to know if there would be room to write. There is. This is how a month will look.
Month by Month
It’s a grey old day here in London, and one that I have spent the most part in bed. A headache started yesterday evening that I kept at bay with painkillers. An early night sorts most things, so I brushed my teeth and got into my pyjamas before the clock had reached double figures.
A few hours later I woke up and thought, this is what it must feel like if someone has knifed you in the head. For the remainder of the night my headache grew and when the alarm went off and I sat up, I realised I was in no state for work. The instructions on the packet of painkillers say they must be taken with food. I didn’t feel I could face food, so no painkillers. Continue reading
It’s that time of year when after lunch the sun is so low it shines straight into your eyes and you can’t see the faces of people coming towards you.
That’s when there is sun. We had mostly rain from mid afternoon on Friday to mid afternoon yesterday. But today, like last Sunday, had glorious blue skies and lengthening shadows.
Despite the sunshine, MasterB did not want to go out. He took himself back to bed, got very shy when he met the neighbours on the landing, and growled when someone on a lower floor started talking in the communal area.
It was after lunch before he made it into the garden. He so obviously wanted my company that I stayed outside with him, took pictures of the roses, the grapevine and the winter pansies I planted in the hanging baskets last weekend.
The explosion made me jump and be grateful I wasn’t pouring a drink. Earlier, I checked the local information to see what firework displays were on tonight and was pleased, though a bit surprised, to see that after the Lord Mayor’s display was over, it looked like a quiet night.
MasterB went out around 7.30. I had barely got upstairs when a rocket whooshed loudly outside. Back to the ground level and I found MasterB cowering at the back of the binshed. He wouldn’t come out. I jingled my keys encouragingly. No go. A rattle of biscuits and a fortunate pause between pyrotecnics proved sufficient to persuade him to come to me and in through the front door again. Continue reading