I love London. I do believe, hand on heart, that it is the greatest city in the world. I have lived here alomost all my adult life. My friends and my work are here; friends with whom I have grown up and grown older; work that really isn’t transferable anywhere else. Work I love, but which doesn’t bring a huge income; no pension plan or any other financial benefits, so retirement is just a word, not a date I look forward to reaching.

I would say after all these years that I am a Londoner.


I was born in the country, grew up in the country, and at this time of year in particular the country exerts a huge pull. For the first time in I don’t know how many years, when I came home on Monday, London did not feel like home. I felt my days here were numbered.



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She Ain’t Dead Yet

When Mother was ill in hospital she said she wanted to die. She said it again at various times when anxiety, fear and dementia overwhelmed her.

Listening to Aunt, what I hear is her desire to live. I told her today that I don’t think she’s dying now. She is someone with too firm a grip on life. Maybe that was why she sent me out to buy her some wafer thin ham and bread rolls. I confess I was surprised by this request, but not as surprised as the Specialist Nurse when I told her of my shopping list.

“Not for her,” she said. Her words were more a statement than a question. I skipped the bit about being vegetarian, and said, “Yes, for her. She says she’ll nibble them.”

The SN, so surprised she nearly forgot her professionalism, told me Aunt was amazing and that she astounded that she was still alive. I’ll leave you to sort out which she is which there. I am confident you’ll cope.


A similar tale with the Hospice Nurses who have been so used to being rejected by Aunt that they now just ‘drop in’ if they are near. “She’s a very determined lady,” they said. “Yes,” I said, thinking that if they had met the clan en masse it might have been an experience from which they would not have recovered.

Cousin and I have often said that Mother and her siblings, who of course include Cousin’s father, my Uncle Tommy, were a difficult bunch. One of my first school reports said I was determined to the point of defiance. Mother loved to quote it, I think she saw it as meaning I was cut from the same stone as she was.

But I have kept you waiting. Here are two photos of Aunt today. The first shows her looking very severe, though I think she was looking at photos of MasterB who she loves, which I had just put on her tablet. Though thinking about it, it may have been when she scrolled back to look at our various outings over two summers. When she saw the photo later, she looked at it in surprise. “I bet you didn’t think you could look so stern,” I said.

Stern Aunt

Stern Aunt

The second is marred by shadow, but the smile is there, so is the bruise on her head. I have tried to tell her that she has a global fandom, but I don’t think she’s taken it on board. Not sure how to progress that one.

Still Smiling

Still Smiling

We listened to Lemn Sissay on Desert Island Discs and she loved his voice. She gasped when he spoke about how his foster parents were told to consider the placement an adoption, and I should like her to hear it again, maybe in bits, and to hear her comments on his story.

No, she is most definitely still alive.

New Beginnings

So I have my glass of wine; a lit candle stands in the window; MasterB who was curled up beside me has gone outside.

If Freddy hadn’t died, I shouldn’t have MasterB. A death marks not just an end, but a new beginning.

I have long called MasterB Cat’s Legacy. Before Freddy adopted me I was A Dog Person; I had no intention and no desire to have a cat.

Fourteen years after having my life turned upside down by a determined feline, the idea of living sans cat was just unthinkable.

So as well as remembering the Gorgeous Boy today, I am giving thanks for MasterB; a new life, a new relationship with my perfect companion cat; loved, cherished, as dear to me as Freddy.

And it’s spring. How could anyone fail to be glad? Continue reading

Happy New Year!

Not the most original title I grant you, but heartfelt nonetheless.

I am hoping for a good 2015. That’s a lie; I am hoping for a wonderful 2015. It has a hard act to follow. My personal 2014 has been, for the most part, one of my best years in ages.

There have been low and sad spots. That goes without saying really. Beyond the personal, there have been some truly awful bits, and things that worry me for the future. Nigel Farage to name but one. Continue reading

Not Cricket

My friend Celia and I sat in the garden and talked about dying mothers. We had a conversation in the same vein a few weeks ago in the pub. Celia’s mother has officially been dying for several weeks. She is in her nineties, has had a UTI, has had a chest infection, the doctors say they can’t do anything more, but when she is awake she is lucid and happy. I last saw Celia just before setting off East to Mother’s two weeks ago. She is sharing looking after her mother with her brother, but was home to look after the grandchildren for a change. Now her husband has tripped and fallen on his face, leaving it, she tells me, a purple mess. But she has gone back to her mother’s tonight.
It was a surprisingly upbeat conversation, and we agreed on the weirdness of sitting waiting for someone to die. But MasterB was in the garden too and whizzed about chasing insects, racing up the cherry tree, coming to stop between us, walk over us, rub himself against us. He took to Celia, and wrestled her arm. He is a good reminder that life goes on.

MasterB Last Week

MasterB Last Week

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Age Thing

Do you know those weeks when there is so much going on that it feels like your head may explode?

Information being received, decisions being made in fragments of split seconds, demands that make your feel like you are a non-stop spinning thing?

Great. Then you’ll know how I feel now it’s Friday night and I’m not working until tomorrow afternoon.

No time this week to contemplate and consider. No time to reflect and process. It’s all been go go go.

Twenty-five years ago, I thrived on weeks like this. I got a buzz from them. Now they seem ridiculous; a negation of being alive.

Is this just an age thing?