Celebrations 2

 

We went to a fabulous wedding when we got back from holiday. X wore a lace sari and looked fabulous with lots of dangly gold chain jewelry and a headdress of medallions across the forehead and her bridesmaids wore raw silk saris, which I thought looked even nicer than the lace. Several of her friends from England ended up coming back for the wedding and she had asked them to be bridesmaids if they could make it, so it was a large bridal party! They had a reception preceded by a traditional ceremony. About 300 to sit down to the meal – no wonder the family were saving for years for the wedding but lovely on the day!

Christmas was fun with all the kids home but it’s quite nice to be back to ‘normal’ now with just the dog to look after (and X [partner] of course!)

The party went well apart from the sausages on sticks which got left in the microwave and so didn’t go at all. Sad!

One unfortunate bit of X’s bash was Mrs Y and her sister had a rather noisy quarrel over, of all things, what was going to happen for Mrs Y’s 70th birthday – her sister and husband walked out eventually – very embarrassing.

At the after-show party for Cinderella, X (Buttons) was most in demand from the 6 girls in the children’s chorus, he danced like maniac for 3 hours and chased the girls round the hall to give them an elaborate kiss on the hand before leaving!

[House warming] In spite of no curtains and the whole house littered with cardboard cartons of possessions, they invited about twenty people up for a drink. I admire their ability to ignore such inessentials. (They had found the glasses).

We are having a visit by the Archbishop of Canterbury. There is a welcome in the evening. X picked up her ticket for the latter after church. I got held up talking to someone and when I got to the car she was in it already together with a vast and leafy stalk lying on the floor. I said ‘What’s that?’ and she, thinking I referred to the envelope with the ticket in, said, ‘My welcome for the Archbishop’ – which reduced me to giggles. I can just see him advancing up the aisle a la Palm Sunday!

Many thank yous for the delightful anniversary card. We bought the most super duper Prestige set of kitchen implements, very expensive, but the best designs I have seen. X also took me out to dinner at the new restaurant in our village. Most intriguing from the outside as it always keeps its red curtains closed, and only opens some nights. Our first surprise was the people there, one couple was a she and a she/he, but he turned out to be a he/she and another v. odd couple – foreign I should think, both young, one tall and a continental looking back [?! I presume he didn’t turn round] and t’other small and scrubbed looking and not at all bright who wore a black cap all the evening. They went through two bottles of something which I presume they brought, altho’ they scrutinised the labels, and smoked large cigars. I think they had packs with them. The others were a couple who we could only see when a leg came round the corner, which didn’t appear to have trousers above the boots, and the last guests were a duller collection of six of our type celebrating something – we ignored how expensive the dishes were (for the first time ever, I think!) and had an exotic meal which was followed a day or two later by a weekend of being entertained.

The leg with no trousers

 

We went to X’s 80th birthday last Sunday. She’s amazing, always a menage in a car, now drives herself to the city and back and takes all her old cronies about. I don’t say I actually enjoyed it, but it was good of her daughters to lay it on for her, there must have been over 50 there.

Learning

Two days ago I at last managed to remember and get to a session of a seminar I signed on for, and paid (!), on the gloomy sounding subject of ‘Practical Preparation for my last years and my death’. I managed to miss the first four of the six sessions (which perhaps says something about my subconscious?)  I think I really joined because the syllabus set out in the blurb didn’t appear to say anything at all about preparations for death, as opposed to dying. This session was led by the doctor in charge of palliative care at the Hospice where 90% of their patients are dying from cancer; and she was very consoling about the process of dying, but brought a nun along with her as she was no expert, she said, on the spiritual needs of patients.

I think as far as algorithms are concerned my mental age is about 3. When my study notes gave us the one for finding a number out of 100, it seemed to me that I had never been taught the heuristic method (that is a lovely word, which I have never before come across; I was quite surprised to find it in my dictionary at all!)  It didn’t help that the study notes kept on talking about larger, when it meant smaller, and vice versa. That particular set must have been prepared in a hurry: it had several similar mistakes in it, making the whole subject all the more confusing.

What’s the number?

We were led by a German professor of the most phenomenal and terrifying eruditeness. It was really quite a strain listening to him for more than half an hour at a time – though in fact he had a pleasant light touch and remarkably good colloquial English (thanks to living in Glasgow for 8 years and New York for 12 – without a trace of either accent, would you believe?)

After qualifying for one profession and trying others, he’s now half way through studying to become a doctor whilst the wife is the main provider – quite a thing with 4 children with the eldest 13.

Gardening – 3

We found the only way to cope with weeds on the gravel was with spray however much I hate it, I imagine every symptom for weeks after using it, especially after our Bishop was whisked off to hospital after spraying his roses!

the bishop is poisoned

I’ve had a fantastic ‘go’ in the garden – and for the first time ever I don’t mind if people look out the windows – I’ve even cleaned those so they can!

I’ve had all my dahlia bulbs out this year and have far too many to cope with – but have put hem all over the place and this morning I found I was digging them up to plant another – so feel it’s time to stop.

We’ve taken out a tree which was past it’s prime like me.

A friend of ours had a horrid accident with one of those dangerous fly-mowers; he’s removed his big toe on one foot and damaged the other foot. I met him at the clinic yesterday, just managing on crutches. I think they ought to be banned, there are so many accidents like this.

Our camellias are super and responding to lots of acid++ and the magnolia has just started to come out. I had 2 daffodils just inside the gate and some so and so took them.

Did I tell you I got myself a petrol chainsaw after all, as well as my electric one. Much more noisy of course – but I couldn’t resist it, to tackle the great pile of logs and bits pushed together by the logging men’s bulldozers. I’ve had two or three days out there (it’s rather a more-ish job – one never arrives at a point when there isn’t an obvious place to pull out a few more bits for the bonfire, cut one more big log, or clear another square yard or two of field!) The veg garden has been too wet to work in – tho’ I did get a row of potatoes in a couple of weeks back. The grass is growing a little, though not much – enough for a rush job to be done on the lawn when we asked a couple to tea at short notice last weekend!

Seems like spring could be here. My tulip, daffodil and iris bulbs are showing, and I’m in the middle of being dazed by glorious seed catalogues, trying to decide what to plant in the garden. The circle really has come full swing quickly.

Significant other – 3

 Did I tell you the sad news of the Xs? Long letter her saying he had taken a year’s sabbatical from her?! and had produced a legal document to say he could live as a single man for a year – now I’ve heard everything! There was a terrific shindy with the tax dept – and it came out that their accountant just hadn’t been sending in all the figures and none at all for one year. It ended up with him having to pay $1,000,000 in back payments and fines – and by mortgaging houses and using money he’d ‘kept fluid ’ was able to pay up – but once in the clear he removed his entire studio and gallery to another State and left her to look after their 4 houses and keep an eye on the family.

She can do nothing right – she’s busy trying to organise a tour of Europe next year – with him and X in a hired caravan. My heart sinks at the idea – 3 months – horrors!

I asked if she still saw X and she said no, he didn’t like her lawyer – but she did – she’d obviously had a big settlement in her favour over the divorce!! Sad he does not seem to enjoy things much.

News of X’s marriage sounds v. odd, do you know what he’s like? I don’t envy him, their house will be in chaos.

living in chaos

X’s hasty wedding was a bit odd too – what does he do workwise – one O Level and looking after chickens is not full of hope for the upkeep of his new wife.

I thought I’d offer X something on time this Xmas and offered her a duvet but she says Y likes a heavy weight on him. I suppose I could give him a length of rope and a block of concrete!

The boyfriend is large and basic (who looks very nice to give him his due) with little education. She says if they were to marry and have a family she wouldn’t mind his looking after the babies and house, as she certainly wasn’t going to stay and look after them. She got quite irate with me when I said I couldn’t imagine his doing it as his friends would think it such a joke – she said couldn’t I see her understanding of it, and I must realise things were different nowadays, and so on – I understood exactly what she meant but didn’t agree with her!

One of our bridge 4 is failing visibly all the time and has difficulty speaking clearly (Parkinson’s) so her husband won’t talk to her and has taken over the kitchen to the extent he’s had it all redone to his choice of everything whilst she was put in a home with a retired nurse. It’s not a happy set up, with the added difficulty of a friend of theirs who’s practically an accepted 3rd in the house and does all the things with him that she can no longer do – walking, swimming – and we’re not sure what else!

He’s 23, fairly big, got curly hair and big curly sideboards and a bit of an extravert.

My changing room environment was emotionally taxing as there were 4 of us – the other three single, but one had just split up with a boyfriend of 2 1/2 years and the other two were involved with married men, one of them with lots of strife.

Let me give you a little word of advice: don’t marry someone you’ve only known for a few months!

The thing we can’t understand is why X thinks he is so marvellous. When she told me that he had aged 5 years in the past 2 weeks the other day, my cynical thought was ‘that makes him 15’ but I didn’t say that cos I didn’t feel it would help.

The marriage day was all perfection. The garden glowed with flowers, the sun burst out of the blue sky – X and I stood up by the altar table – behind us was an arbour we’d made and covered with a fish net with flowers and ferns twined in it. In front of us the people (about 40) sat in a semi-circle of benches we’d made out of driftwood from the beach. X had written the liturgy, and as well there were poems – Fernhill by Dylan Thomas, and I read one by Yevtushenku called Colours – and guitar and dulcimer music. I was bursting with excitement and joy. Everyone was smiling and serious at the same time.

I won’t have told you I had a ‘Dear John’ letter from X in October. I was very sad, and really it wasn’t as bad as all that. It is difficult to keep up a romance when people are 7000 miles apart. He met someone else, and it was only a matter of time before I would have been writing the same sort of letter as on Oct. 10 I fell somewhat for a 6’2” hunk of superb Canadian manhood. Absolutely terrific guy.

Cheek

On the way home we watched the bungy jumping. One cheeky young man called out, ‘Are you going too, granny?’ Afterwards I wished I’d said yes, if he’d shout me! Why don’t you think of these things at the time?

[Child of 8y] About mother’s lacy black bra: ‘A see-through bra! Oh well, I suppose it’s cheaper.’

[Child of 9] Realising he’d missed something which sounded interesting, he said, ‘Oh bother, I wish my ears were poking into your conversation.’

missing something

After about half an hour he [owner] turned up with his two daughters. He was licensed for 4 people which he already had booked (plus his friend and baby, plus his girlfriend and 3 year-old!) so we became his cousins for the day and booked into the third B&B bedroom with en suite.

He is building a yacht an hopes to sail in some enormous race ‘If he can find a sponsor’ – I can’t think why people be expected to pay for someone to indulge themselves.

She tried the place I suggested and got it wrong, and went straight to the place without an interview, so it was a wasted journey, I told her she’d need a 3 week notice to get a proper counsellor, but someone else said just turn up. So, I’m fed up with being taken as not knowing anything – I’d phoned up and found out.

Ageing – 4

I went for my compulsory 76 driving test in December and was told his only complaint was I wasn’t quick enough off the mark at lights etc. – which held traffic up – but I won’t push it – I know my reactions and the ability of the car best. An old boy of 88 locally went into the side of a car and wrote it off, the second car in 2 years.

Slow on the off

I am distressed I have not heard from my cousin for 2 years; as he is my only remaining relative, I would like to know if they are still in the land of the living. Would you be a dear and phone them for me? My address book has suddenly disappeared – I will have to put their number down later in the letter.    … X has found my address book though so here is their phone number – no, it isn’t – I haven’t got it!! Here is the address. She is more with it – it’s a pity I’m not! – so I hope she answers the phone.

They came out to tea on Saturday – he is pretty sick with cancer though of which bit of him I don’t know – but he battles on very cheerfully – so we enjoyed their coming.

Poor old X, it’s so hard when she’s helped everyone for so long. It must be hard for Y – she said in a letter when she goes to the nursing home the father sits with his head in his hands saying he wishes he was dead, and X bursts into tears – so unlike her.

Now I’m on 2 different anti-bs, to be taken at different times, so I have to write when down carefully, or I certainly wouldn’t remember if I’d taken them or not.

Isn’t getting old sad? I’m not going to put anything in writing or help any but mine own in future – the stress is too much. The most trivial things put me in a tizz – making hair appts, then cancelling them, and the like.

He’s in a bad way, looks awful and really isn’t all there – and [wife] keeps telling him so. I’m sure he shouldn’t be driving

Today we didn’t wake up until 9.30 so had to put a move on to get to church. Lovely little building and a good service. One of the congregation was to be 96 this week – she walked down the v. steep path to the church in a more spritely way than I!

She had to take over the driving on the motorway as I was sleepy. It’s incredible how easily I go to sleep when I sit down during the day, though I find it difficult to sleep more than 6-7 hours in bed!

Keeping fit – 2

I am taking fresh carrot juice and raw veg and fruit a lot – no meat or milk or eggs, but I do have nuts and tinned fish. It is supposed to help the arthritis in my back, and I am feeling better after 6 months. Also I have given up blood pressure pills and am a bit lighter too.

The boys have had 6 of 7 lessons and have making good progress. X is working so hard at freestyle and backstroke but is somewhat hampered by a natural tendency to sink!

A tendency to sink

What went awry with your dentist’s efforts? I’m lucky as X (who isn’t everyones choice) is as good sculpting teeth as rock and clay and will do odd things like sticking the front tooth that flaked apart together again tho’ he admitted it was unorthodox, and he charges me mates’ rates.

We had 3 large boxes of chocs given us at Xmas and I can’t resist them. I’ve bought an exercise video but I fear it hasn’t helped just sitting beside the TV!! I must get up and do some NOW.

She goes back to the clinic for a check-over on Thursday, and provided the bones are still in the right place, she will be having the pins out and a change of plaster – hopefully to one below the knee. Over the last couple of days she has been putting weight on her leg quite unconsciously and on Sunday was doing slow motion ballet leaps across the sitting room – her crutches providing the wherewithal whilst she was in the air.

I haven’t heard about your mini jogger – is it round and about a metre in diameter? X has one like that under the grand piano – I can’t really see him or his wife bouncing on it tho’. [Both about 85!] I am doing my exercises and I’m sure they loosen me up – but I don’t walk as much as I’m told to – there are so many things to do that you can see the use of the time.