Vote for Meghan

Oh I’m glad to be home. I’m tired. I have to go to work tomorrow, but tonight it’s a stir fry, cuddles with MasterB, a glass or two of wine and undemanding television. Right now I am watching When Harry met Meghan, a programme I normally would avoid. But oddly I am enjoying it. I am surprised to learn that where I live is currently gripped by wedding fever. You could have fooled me. I wish the couple well, but I am not intending to watch the event on television. I don’t even know if it is being televised.

Meghan Markle appears to be an intelligent, compassionate and aware woman. She’s a feminist, an activist. She has humour, determination. I’d say the Windsors have struck very lucky. She’s mixed race coming to live in a country where racism and xenophobia is on the rise. She has courage. If I were her family I’d be very proud of her. Hell, she’s not my family and I’m proud of her. I’m really hoping she’s going to be our Michelle Obama. She gives me hope. Continue reading

Advertisements

Dreaming About Theresa

I don’t know what can have been the cause, but last night I dreamt I was voice coaching Theresa May. It can’t be because I want her brand of politics to get a better hearing, I find it abhorrent. Maybe it’s just because she makes so many speeches which we get to hear bits of on the news, and they are always so boring. In my dream I was showing her how back in the 80s Not the Nine O’clock News satirised politicians, pointing out similarities between the satire and her own delivery. Awake, I think The Two Ronnies might have been better source material. I know I spent some time trying to stop her saying ‘I’m very clear’ so maybe it was in the interests of my health, as any politician who says they are or have been clear generally means the opposite, and it winds me up. What we were aiming for in my dream was a little spontaneity, some glimpse of the person she presumably is. Perhaps I should have got her to talk about kitten heels. Continue reading

Neighbours and Outsiders

It is often said that London is a series of villages. I’m not sure I buy that, but I would say it’s a series of neighbourhoods. Most people are very aware of and loyal to their neighbourhood. When I came to live in London people would talk about their manor. It’s not a term I’ve heard for a while, so I suspect that those a generation behind me would find it as quaint as I did expressions from the 1950s.

Celia, Octavia and I all live in the same neighbourhood. I couldn’t tell you exactly where our patch begins and ends, but two or three years ago Celia and I were walking in an adjoining neighbourhood when we spotted a notice for a book group. It was behind glass and the worse for wear from condensation. We peered at it, trying to decipher date, location and book. As we did so, a woman approached with a wide, friendly smile. Do join us, she said. We don’t live here, we answered, wary of trespassing on alien territory. We live up the road; we belong to a different tribe. Alright, we didn’t say the last bit, at least I don’t think we did, but I certainly thought it, despite knowing people from this other tribe. That doesn’t matter, said the woman, smile enhanced by a halo of blond curls. You’d be very welcome. Continue reading

A Welcome to New and Old Friends

In the past few weeks a number of people have signed up to follow this blog. Thank-you, and welcome! Most of my new readers do not have blog pages or WordPress identities and do not comment – my silent readership. I admit I am intrigued at this new, at least to me, trend. I recognise one person, that’s you Judy – hi! – but no one else.

Some new followers do have pages, though I admit I haven’t checked most of them out. The truth is I am not just an undisciplined cook, I am am also an undisciplined blogger. I get the urge to post in bursts and not at all, and the same goes for my reading of blogs I follow, so you may find, as Pat, Ruth, IngridD, Nitzus, Nadbugs and Gilly for example will have learned, that my comments and likes equally come in bursts interspersed with long silences. Other blogs I read, like or not, but rarely comment on. That doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t enjoy them. Continue reading

A Walk in Kent

Last night I finally got the last of the mud off my boots. They were caked. Kent is a county that has a reputation for being dry, but the first two fields we walked across were lakes of mud. There was no escape. I’m a mucky walker at the best of times, coming home with mud splattered trousers whatever the weather, but Saturday was pretty spectacular. The ground sucked at my heels so that each step was accompanied by a distinctive squelching sound.

I’d caught an earlier train out of London than planned and it was wonderfully quiet and empty.

Empty train

The fields we passed by were covered with frost, and the sun shone benevolently. The walk, a Pluckley Circular, was organised by the Ramblers and shared between two groups which meant there were nearly thirty of us when the walk began. But I’m getting ahead of myself. If you’ve clicked on that wiki link you’ll have read Pluckley claims to be the most haunted place in the country. But how would you tell?

So I was at Pluckley station half an hour ahead of kick-off, though perhaps that should be step-off.

Station car park


The station has a legitimate claim to historical fame.

Sole survivor


An original


But it’s not actually in Pluckley. It’s a distance away from the village, over a mile. Here’s the pub that is beside the station, a pretty impressive pile, named for the Dering family who were landowners.

The pub at Dering

Dering Arms

Continue reading

Better and Bigger than Trump

Lor’ love a duck, I have just read that Theresa May has again invited Donald Trump to these shores. I thought we were hard up, how on earth are we going to afford the security costs? It would be nice if he’d do the decent thing and stay at home, then maybe that money could be given to the NHS. Or maybe she’s planning to sell him the NHS and we’ll have Trump hospitals everywhere. Given Trump’s gung-ho attitude towards facts and knowledge that would probably mean anyone could get their hands on a scalpel and see if they could retire us when we need it. Lots of gold plating and no doctors, no nurses, no paramedics, but a director who claims he has the best wards, is the most medical person ever.

When I read that many people who voted for Trump still support him, call him one of them, cite economic growth pushing back ISIS as evidence of the effectiveness of his presidency. I went to see Darkest Hour yesterday, and it got me thinking about Hitler and how his rise to power was due largely to his promise to make Germany great again, how he appealed to people who had lost everything in the depression, who felt ground down and humiliated after the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler, like Trump, promised much, he had scapegoats, he painted a picture of a glorious Reich free from those who dragged it down – Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, communists. Women belonged in the home, cooking, bearing children who would fight for this Reich.

And let’s face it, at first he seemed to many in Germany to be delivering the goods. Here in the UK he had his admirers too. The Daily Mail and the Daily Express gave him their approval. The abdicated Edward VIII visited the fuhrer.
Continue reading

Stonking Good Television, Stonking Good Drama

There have been some stonking good drama series on television in the last few months. While I was in Northern Ireland Cousin introduced me to Love, Lives and Records. Over Christmas I caught up on the episodes I’d missed. It was just great and has helped me accept the fact that The Detectorists has come to a definite end after three wonderful series. Then last night Derry Girls began. Heaven.

On the face of it the three drama series have nothing in common. Love, Lives and Records is set in a registrars’ office in Leeds; The Detectorists is about two blokes who are keen members of an amateur metal detecting group; Derry Girls is about a group of teenagers growing up in Derry City in the 90s. But like all good dramas they take a group of people in particular situations and explore universal truths. They are gentle yet challenging; the characters become people you care about very quickly. They are flawed, silly, wise, troubled, funny. Continue reading

Make Mine a Lemsip

The rain is lashing down. It’s ferocious, like an angry percussion section. The wind part of the weather orchestra is sending eerie whistles through slightly open windows and helping the rain create little scudding crescendos. I’m supposed to be on a train to spend the day with a friend on the Essex coast to walk and talk along the seashore, share some seasonal food and wine. Instead I’m in bed.

It’s not just the weather that has made me decide to stay in my pyjamas for the time being. On Christmas Eve I went out for a walk and realised I wasn’t feeling my usual happy self. Normally walking does a magical thing of connecting body and spirit for me. I love the way my limbs find their rhythm, breathing follows the same tune, eyes and ears absorb familiar and new sights. So when I found I was having to push myself along I examined my constituent parts and found a cold lurking. Continue reading