A New Year. Time for resolutions. So. Number one was decided back in Melbourne, to explore some of the South London suburbs on my doorstep. One of these days I plan to move, and as my own neighbourhood is fast becoming too expensive for me, these explorations may well inform where I live out the rest of my life. Some people love moving house. I don’t. If possible my next move will be my last. And when you consider I have lived at my current address for thirty years, that doesn’t seem impossible.
Number two: to find out when is the best time to visit New Zealand and where to enjoy extensive but not too demanding walking. I have been thinking of 2018 as my date for New Zealand, and now it is 2017 I could be booking a flight quite soon. Very exciting. Unless of course I decide to move house sooner rather than later, in which case NZ will probably have to wait. Encouragingly and excitingly my two friends in NZ have responded positively to my proto plans to visit their country.
Number three: I used to be a slim person. My hip bones preceded me into rooms. Now my belly does. I avoid mirrors, but some recent photographs have shown me I am twice the woman I was not so very long ago. So, and I am still undecided about this, shall it be WeightWatchers, or something else? Jeannette Winterson wrote so persuasively about fasting I am tempted to shell out for a week of starvation in the hope that I shall see the light and find it is not the one that comes on when I open the fridge door. So number three is something to do with health, and hopefully rediscovering my hip bones.
Number four: family. My paternal grandmother was the eldest of a number of siblings. If my father were still alive, and he died in 1991, he would be 96. He had younger cousins, much younger. So it was a bit of a shock when ‘young Hazel’ as Dad always called her, wrote in her Christmas card to me that she is in her eighties, widowed for the second time and lonely. I called her and we chatted and laughted for nearly an hour. Another of Dad’s younger cousins lives quite near me, in one of the suburbs I intend to explore in fact, but we haven’t seen each other for some time. She always seems to be on the go, and heads for Wales where her parents had a house which she inherited, as often as possible. Hazel’s message woke me up to the fact that these cousins are not going to be around for ever. So I plan to visit Hazel in Bedford, and catcgh up with Jeannette in Forest Hill, or maybe follow her to Wales. Now that sounds like a very good idea.
Number five: a few weeks ago Celia, Charlie and I went to one of our local libraries to hear Paddy Ashdown talking about his new book. He, like Dad, was in the Royal Marines, though not during the Second World War, and maybe not in the Commandos. I spoke to him afterwards and he advised me to go to Kew to see if I could find my father’s war service record. I know nothing of what my father did in the war. He never spoke of it other than in the most general terms, but he disliked people, men, who boasted of their wartime exploits. It turns out that Celia knows little of what her father, who was in the RAF, did, and like Dad he was a radio operator, so the pair of us plan to head out to Kew and find out about our fathers’ wars, prosaic or otherwise.
There may be numbers six, seven and eight, but I don’t know of them yet. Watch this space.