Nuisances of life 3

I think I told you about the huge rat that walked across our skylight when I had an elevenses party. Well, we didn’t catch that but a while ago I saw another smaller one and managed to get X to see it before it scurried off. We set a trap in the skylight and caught two the same size but now they seem to have taken the hint.

exploring rat

The second week of the holiday was somewhat marred by having a wisdom tooth out. It wasn’t too bad but my face swelled more than expected so I looked like an advanced stage of mumps on one side for a while. It’s almost down again now – I can still feel where he pulled my jaw about though.

Whilst I remember, did you ever – Maddening – I can’t remember – something caught my attention and can’t finish that fascinating question!!!

Only four lambs – 50% lambing rate is most shaming! Next year if I still have them I’ll have to find another ram I think. [But later] We now have adorable twin black lambs from a ewe we didn’t think was going to lamb, plus a white one, and one twin that survived, and another is imminent. They make their bed in the oddest way by pawing the ground and when nice and muddy or clear of grass sit in it.

I found my dahlias were at last showing few shoots, so spent a whole afternoon sorting them out into 3 boxes, one that looked too shrivelled to come to life again, another that might, given time, and the third that all had shoots and were ready to plant. I’d promised X some of them and intended sharing the third box, but left the job in the middle and didn’t come back to it for 2 days when I was taking the typewriter to her as she had asked to borrow it, so picked up the box outside the back door and went – yes, you’ve guessed, it was the one with all the good ones in it. I was ridiculously miserable for two days – I’ve enjoyed them so much the last two seasons, I hope she does this season!

I fear I haven’t done very much of the jigsaw, there seem so many things mounting up in the garden and bridge and just living takes a long time!

I’ve been feeling very sorry for myself as the 2nd double tooth broke in half last week, the first one was on the bottom jaw so didn’t show but this one was on the top beside a previous gap. The dentist was away but saw me promptly the day he came back, and said he couldn’t do anything about it as it was too soft, so I’d have to have it out soon. I asked, ‘Like now?’ and he said if he gave me a local whilst he saw the next person just slowly coming up the drive, he’d do it when she left.

My bank statement came and I took ages trying to balance it – finished $100 up on the bank – must be wrong! I think it was last time X did them for me and after 2 days still couldn’t balance it that he said he thought I should die before him. I said I didn’t want to be hurried up I had lots of things I wanted to do!

Holidays (3)

We’ve been talking about a little holiday for so long I got onto that and was all agog to go to Kakadu up in the Northern Territory of Oz – but the rather dubious promoter wanted the earth for the trip – all based on coach trips. We put it off and really I don’t think a coach trip would be any good for X – he’d sleep his way through Australia and hate being woken up to look at aboriginal paintings etc – and the flies!! So I turned to the Islands again but they look v. artificial apart from Norfolk where we’ve been – and where Y and Z went on their honeymoon. The coach tour was organised for hotels and meals – which appealed to me – tho’ usually I hate the vast amount they expect you to eat. Now X says let’s go to the Bay of Islands.

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asleep on the coach tour

 

X invited Y [younger relative] to stay so he went down on Sunday to come back the Tuesday week. By Saturday X was looking for an early flight! … I gather they went swimming & McDonald’s, hydrosliding & McDonald’s, ice skating & McDonald’s, movies & McDonald’s etc.

8 adults, 6 2/9 grandchildren, 4 cats and 10 bikes, trikes and scooters – a recipe for chaos? We all arrived at a very smart 4 bedroom house … Just at the moment I’m relaxing at the hot pool cafe while the 1st instalment of family change for the pool.

She said X had told her I’d always wanted to go to Georgia and she said it was very handy to Delhi and I must go and stay. I’ve just had a look at my globe and think it must have been Tibet we were talking about, the other place I want to go to! and yes Tibet looks possible.

We think we’ll try and organise ourselves ahead of time and go to Tasmania next year – all the crowd we used to go round with lived there at one time. I don’t think it’s as exciting as some places I’d choose but doesn’t move so fast!

We found a large stand of kauris and found them quite awesome – very odd such huge trunks and funny twiggy branches on top.

Friends just back from there [Cairo] found it dirty and rather frightening – apparently not changed from our time there, except the pyramids are crumbling so much you can’t climb them. I gathered from an article I saw recently ‘they’ had found some new burial places – aren’t we hypocrites? – once the bones are dry or crumbled it’s okay to dig them up – earlier it’s the most heinous crime of body snatching.

Ageing (3)

I really need to keep a diary: the days get all mixed up in one’s mind, and most of their contents disappears into the rubbish bin of Forgetfulness, more or less without trace! I really don’t recommend the 80s!

I gathered he did his faint in the course of trying to pull up a bush he was transplanting, having dug all round it. It sounded as though X had left him inert in the hole while she went for the doctor, but perhaps it wasn’t quite like that.

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pulling up the rose bush

 

Poor old X – when we came here [14 years before] he and his wife used to make themselves responsible for the little church, mowing, cleaning down the walls and windows, etc. – and only two years ago he was still mowing a quarter acre of grass around his house, and walking every day to his son’s house, about a mile each way for his evening meal. Now he’s just about blind, and progressively slower on his feet and finding great difficulty with his vocabulary (aren’t we all?). He was very worried today when we got into church because he had lost his collection envelope, and kept feeling for it. Eventually when we got him home we went and searched high and low but it was nowhere to be found, in drawers or pockets, though everybody said that his son would have got it ready for him last night. After lunch the son rang up to thank us and it appeared that two months ago, to save the problem of losing the envelope, they started a bank order transfer – but X had forgotten that.

Poor dear seems to have completely lost his marbles, it’s very putting offing hearing the queer things people here do and say as they get beyond their years.

I don’t mind how long I live, I’ve lots I want to do, so long as I’m not beholden to someone else for decisions and have to be looked after (and I’m sure the family feel the same!!)

I’ve just been to wake him up – 2.45 – when he eventually came to he said, ‘What day is it?’ I said Monday but he decided we had Monday yesterday!

I shall be able to take my daily walk – which is already having a remarkable effect on the evening size of my ankles!

Our next door neighbour was brought home for Christmas, and we popped in to see him. He looks better than I expected physically, but just can’t get his words together, poor dear – even when she gives him half a chance, and she can talk the back leg off a donkey.

Spelling

We went to Harry Potter and the pholpersers stone. It was realy funny because Hadrige kept on saying I souldn’t of told you that. At the end Harry was in the hospital win because he was very badly ingered. He had berty bots every flavour beans and propheser Drubledore had a ear wax flavour.

I liked the friends and relitives we visited. As for the food, I loved it all especialy: the ice cream topping, the cocolate mouse, the picnic’s ect. 

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making the cocolate mouse

Give up the earnest job and take to dress designing and creating from your eerie! (How on earth is an eagle’s nest spelt? I am sure ‘eerie’ is wrong but can’t think how it should be and I appear to have tidied my dictionary away!)

Funny – now she’s got a spell check cos it doesn’t pick up incorrect usage. It said ‘a bout 6 months’ and ‘little room to spear’!

A real estate office had a notice in the window advertising ‘560 acre’s of land with a calved drive’!

[From dyslexic child, as written, in flowing and beautiful handwriting! – some guesswork required!]

We just went up to X; (hears our ajender) Day one: find camp ground, set up srunk tent, drink coke eat porky bats, go see X (daddys Godmothr) Day Two: go to beach laze around on beack and in shrunk tend. (and go to balhs). Day three; same as day two. Day four; drive to Y lion Safri, and have ago on, the hrydo slide, the mini golf the train (mini) the pedel boot to the tobgan, and we saw a magic show and a star tallin quest. (we also so the lions, tigers, bufflo, deer etc.). Then we went to Pizza hut had dinner went to X’s house and whatched star trek (the motin pitcure).

X was there with Y. Z has a queer decease ?hands, feet and mouth which is evidently rampaging round the preschoolers.

When I was young

I seem to remember that enormous hill on what used to be the A25 and particularly scaling it on one occasion in a very ancient (1922) car called an ABC which I had gone shares of £2 each on with a friend from X who came to stay and swat for our final exams – around 1935. This car had an unusual lubrication system by which oil dripped into the crankcase at the rate at which it was supposed to being burnt up or otherwise used. You could see it dripping in a little glass tube mounted on the dashboard. I don’t know whether it was a fault of the system or just of this car, but if you went up a long hill where the engine was pulling hard without any let up, it somehow built up a pressure in the crankcase and the oil started coming up the pipe instead of down until the glass tube was full of it. It was always nerve-racking wondering whether the top of the hill or a piston seizing up would come first. Once one got over the top and going downhill it all ran away into the engine again, to my great relief. It was a nice car, with a very good upright driving position, and a four speed gearbox which was well ahead of its time.

 No, I haven’t left my upbringing behind entirely, as regards the telephone. I often find myself waiting like Job for the bad news as I lift the receiver. And I’m not as good as X at just chatting even with free calls!

 I’m a bit worried she doesn’t intend having jabs – remembering the plague in X when everyone had to be inoculated against it. One bright local went for his buddies with suitable payment – which he didn’t last to use. It’s a v. nasty one and so is the plague.

the plague

 

I had a letter from X [niece’s husband] thanking me for the tails and dinner jacket. He took them to the tailors to be altered and they were a bit stuffy about it until they looked at it, then the tailor called all his staff to come and see the wonderful material and hand-finishing. It had ‘1937’ in the pocket [60 years previously].

The future and posterity

[From the days before computers etc. when phone calls abroad were booked and cost a fortune] It was lovely to hear you the other day – it never ceases to be a miracle to me – and surely it can’t be long before we’ll be able to travel that way.

On the subject of grandchildren, there is still only one who is married, and no sign of offspring – two are living happily in sin, one is gay, and three are still playing the field. So much for posterity.

This typewriter is being a great nuisance. It seems to have stopped refusing to reverse the ribbon at one end, which it was doing for a time, but now the platen and rollers are refusing to grip the paper, so it won’t wind on properly – and often refuses to accept the paper when I first feed it in without scrumpling it up at the edges.

She was a remarkable old lady – daughter of a skilled cabinet maker – who lost her mother in childbirth when she was ten, and thereafter was ‘mother’ to the family until the first world war, when her three brothers went off to the Front as they got old enough. She got a job in the Income Tax department, which she lost again with peacetime. Her father remarried a lady with a boarding house in X, and her brothers also soon got married so she was on her own and determined to see the world (which meant accepting a post as a cook in New Zealand with a £10 passage). She only had one contact there, apart from her prospective employer, and that was a Kiwi who had stayed a couple of years before in the [boarding house]. She had never met him, but her father gave her the name and address. In due course she got in touch with him. And at their second meeting he proposed and was accepted! That was the late 20s, and she was rising 40, but they had four children, including a set of twins.

The general principle behind the government’s Social Welfare programme seems to be that everyone should save like mad all their lives, in order to pay for their own old age and eventual demise; and the idea I was brought up on that any money you inherit should be regarded as a trust for your children, with enjoyment of the income only, is almost regarded as subversive!

The service started with a 3 1/2 year old boy singing the 1st verse of Away in the Manger. He and an 8 year old girl were brought out from an orphanage in Rumania / Russia?? – both very weakly. In 18 months they’re speaking fluent English and healthy and delightful. Their adopted parents are wonderful, having brought up their family, starting again.

Outings (2)

Went to the Arenes to see the tau which are very young bulls (3) let loose in the arena with about 6 to 8 young men dressed in white calling them to charge and they do. I was one metre away from one with a wall between us. Very frightening. Those young men had to run ever so quick and jump over a wall made of wood and then up near the spectators whilst someone is shouting which lad has won so many euros and this for quarter of an hour or more. To be seen once and that is it. DONE! NOT TO BE DONE AGAIN…

I went to a show with the 3rd age… it was simply marvellous and the discipline of leaving the arena was very organised; we didn’t have to wait too long as we were coach No. 9, but coach 38 must have found it a gruelling experience. It was quite tiring, although it was only 7 hours altogether. [!]

Your day with X sounded a lovely mix, though I don’t think I would have chosen Ibsen myself. My whole view of Russian literature is thoroughly coloured by a film (supposed at the time to be rather ‘risky’) which I saw about 1938 in a funny little cinema which then existed underneath the arches between Charing Cross and the river. It was an eternal triangle story, highly emotional, apparently, (though the subtitles hardly conveyed it) and punctuated with ‘Let’s have a cup of tea’ at all the high points, which came as regularly as the commercials in a TV drama. The trains at intervals didn’t help much, of course.

We went to see ‘the trots’. We only saw two races, and left before the last to avoid the traffic – but, as we were so late arriving, we got in for nothing and we were glad to have the experience! I picked but didn’t back the last horse in the first race we saw, and X picked and I backed for her the last but one in the other race – so we could have done better.

We did a visit to the Museum to see the Chinese Army – well, five of it, but quite well tricked out to make a reasonable exhibition with some big photos and various artifacts, and also a short slide show with commentary to begin with.

X had a lovely time last week going sailing. They’d had a week preparing for it, learning to rig the boats and so on and then went down to the estuary for 2 mornings. They were meant to get another half morning (for the ultimate fun of capsizing!) but it was flat calm and drizzling that day so they missed out.

no disasters

We left for home with a less-than-worthwhile diversion to a gallery to see some local artists’ work which someone had recommended. They all had scholarships to study three years or more abroad, and in no case did we think it worthwhile.