Ageing 7

I love the local handyman who was working on the house yesterday and said firmly ‘the only thing I have against you coming here is your age!’ He decided it was a good acre in all, and that he wouldn’t take it on himself. As he stands quietly meditating for most of the day I can quite see that he wouldn’t, but of course I am now spurred on to show him that he is wrong – even if I have nightmares when I close my eyes and consider the decorating in the house, the garden… Ah well, all will pass and you must come and help cut a hedge in due course!

X had a bad crash in her car. She apparently dozed off while driving, and went into a 32-wheeled articulated truck carrying a load of lubricating oil in drums, in spite of the driver getting right onto the grass on his side of the road in the effort to keep out of her way. As you would expect, hitting such a heavy vehicle more or less head on, her car was severely crushed, and poor X had both legs broken and her pelvis – one leg in no less than seven places. It took two hours to cut her out of the remnants of her car, and she is 81, and must be almost indestructible to survive at all, I think. So maybe Y is right not to allow me to drive further than about five miles alone!!!

X has become progressively worse. She won’t go out at all. Her mind is in a loop and at times she can be quite aggressive. She doesn’t answer her phones and they should be cut off. Carers go in to her three times daily, seven days a week.

Her mind is in a loop

I had another x ray, another ECG and then the interview. The ECG was drawn out as the sister wanted to use me as a demonstration for a couple of medical students. Luckily they had warm hands.

How I hate having my eyes tested – especially the big blue light which they bring closer and closer until one can’t help watering and blinking madly however much they say, ‘Don’t blink, just for the moment. Try not to blink.’ However the result was satisfactory. He reckoned that my glasses were the right ones to have, and thought my eye strain might have been through keeping the things I was looking at at the near limit of my capacity to focus, whereas the man who made the glasses had made them for typewriter range, as it were; and he couldn’t find anything else wrong or impending apart from a minor infection of the lids for which I have an ointment. He also reckoned that the deterioration I had noticed was to be expected, and could be expected not to continue for a good time – so no reason for alarm (apart from wondering how much his bill will be, which he said they would send!)

The cough is supposed to be getting better. In the meantime I developed a nasty pain in my foot, and went back to him to learn that I had GOUT, if you please. (I didn’t think I lived licentiously enough for that, but apparently the diuretics I take to stop my ankles swelling etc., make it more likely.) So that was another pill, twice a day to add to the eight. I had also developed what I thought was a stye but that he treated with admirably scant respect, and said it was a something cyst (I gather based on a blocked tear duct) and flicked it out with a bit of paper. So that was one problem apparently finished off, and certainly it has been admirably free of pain since he did it

I wanted to tell you that the eye op had gone brilliantly, and I am already driving the car with renewed vision! Having put the local in they covered up my face with a vast blue sheet, rather similar to the thing I collect my garden leaves in, and gave me an oxygen tube underneath to keep me alive, and a peg on my finger to show that I was. It pinged if I wasn’t. On the whole I was glad I couldn’t see anything, apart from a few colours through this blueness, the sounds were startling enough, but in fact I couldn’t feel a thing.

House repairs & housekeeping 5

We’ve had some horrid cold weather and I spent two half days putting pink batts in our roof. It is a very low pitched roof so that one can’t get even onto hands and knees. I started by laying a nice smooth plankway the full length over the kitchen and sittingroom so that I could slide on my back hauling myself along on the roof trusses. Then I retired to the far end with a rope and X fed bundles of batts into the roof attached to the other end, with a second rope to haul the cover back for more. Then it was just a question of poking them into position with a broom – but my elbows and hipbones got a bit sore! I don’t know whether it’s improved the ceiling but it had a marvellous effect on the weather. It was almost balmy when we went for a Sunday walk this afternoon.

I’m sorry you are still having trouble with aspects of the flat e.g. those windows and beetles but I suppose it is one of the debit aspects of property-owning that one always does. I was under the trapdoor into the hole under the house a week or so ago and was horrified to find a large patch of bright yellow mould surrounded by reaching tentacles and clouds of white fibres, all sprouting within a foot or so of the wall. After 2 days I nerved myself to scoop the horrid stuff up in an ice cream carton and take it to the building inspector who (thankfully) dismissed it as harmless as mushrooms.

I’m so glad that the kitchen fan is a success. They certainly are expensive things. Ours was all the more because it wasn’t practical to put it in the kitchen wall or window since that faces the prevailing wind and the poor thing couldn’t be expected to cope with that, and if it did it would only blow the grease and smell back into the bathroom next door; so we put a pipe through the ceiling and straight up through the roof. Of course what with the plumber to cut the hole in the decromastic roof, and the carpenter to cut the hole in the ceiling, and the tinsmith to make up the pipe and the electrician to wire up the fan, the fitting cost about twice as much as the fan itself!

X’s new plan for household tidiness – no more cupboards for marmalade, empty yoghurt pots etc. You just have one shelf on which everything is put in chronological order, everything else being moved up to make room – and anything which gets to the other end is thrown away. We agreed an improvement whereby there would be a hole in the wall at the far end and one of those disposal bins parked outside so that the whole system would become automatic. Brilliant, n’est ce pas?

First in first out

Poor X, he saw the enormous earth mover working next door and leapt out to get him to level our drive prior to concreting: at $50 an hour + an earth carrier lorry and man, he put in three-quarters of an hour and didn’t do the heaviest part, in fact I think it was a dead and expensive loss, but that’s what happens when one tries to supervise yourself and economise.

The main preoccupation this week is the start of the new room. I worked with our chosen one-man builder – mostly fetching three loads of sand in the trailer to fill in for height. By evening it was all prepared and the concrete ordered for the morning. Three minutes before the appointed hour the lorry arrived – but no builder! Panic – but, by the time he had backed up the drive and got a cup of coffee, he arrived so all was well again – until the last scrap of mix dribbled out with a miserable hole in one corner of the boxing. I think if I’d been on my own I would have raked it all across and levelled it off an inch or so lower! As it was we ordered another 1/2 yard, waited an hour and a half for it, and then had to fit half of it into the caravan standing – a very expensive sort of fill-material.

As I have now decided to do most of it myself [adding a new room] I am obviously going to be busy for a long time. X estimated it at 200 man hours or thereabouts – and you can bet that I don’t count as that sort of a man and will need quite a bit of extra time putting right the things that go wrong as I go along. X was a bit horrified when we started examining the carport in detail as the great 10 inch rafters which support its roof (and our new room on top) appear to be resting on only one inch of a beam at the house end of them and to be held in place largely with a couple of 6 inch nails each. So I must see if I can incorporate some slight reinforcement as I fill in the carport just to stop them all falling off and our new room with them if we have an earth tremor.

I was fortunate to get an off-cut of particle board the floor is made of, and replace the patch I cut out. Having measured it about four times to make sure I didn’t cut it wrong, as I so often do, I cut it wrong, would you believe, and had to fit in a strip a quarter of an inch wide to make up!

Children 6

X still talks 19 to the dozen and I think the whole town knows of her as a chatterbox – if she were anyone else’s child I’d think of her as precocious and rather revolting, but someone has to love her!

[Visitors viewng house for sale] The wife’s approach to her outdid my grandmother – on seeing X’s darkroom she told the 5 year old it would be a good place to shut up bad little girls, and when Y offered them a strawberry each she said she didn’t expect they’d eat them, they didn’t like anything that was good for them – would you believe it this day and age! She was delighted with the sitting room and sunroom, which go through the house, and said she could keep the children out of it and they could play at the end of the kitchen, the space about 9 square feet [one hopes this actually means 9 x 9 not 3 x 3!] where we normally eat. Lucky children.

Must repeat gorgeous misprint of the year – found on wrapper of local frozen chickens – ‘before serving remove the wrapper and brown the children in a moderate oven for half an hour’!

The boys are almost eating more than I do now – certainly they all do for breakfast and lunch if not dinner! At dinner they get a main course: meat, spud, and 2 veg generally, then a milk pud or similar and they’re always still hungry and usually manage a piece of bread and quarter apple afterwards! My housekeeping costs have risen 50% in the last year. I’m dreading when they’re 12, 14 and 16 – they’ll cost a bloody fortune!

X seems to cross swords with her teacher; I suspect the worthy lady sees in X’s somewhat precocious manner a reflection of her own two obnoxious little brats! Last time X complained about unfair treatment at school her mother went and ‘had it out’ with both teacher and headmaster. The upshot was that X was required to go to the front of the class and publicly apologise for lying. Charming!

If the boys all go in one room they get up at the crack of dawn and jolly well see to it no one goes on sleeping. They’ve done such ghastly things as raiding the kitchen and throwing the eggs +++ around; their mother’s put a padlock on the kitchen door, which she locks before she goes to bed.

The egg fight

X staggered in from school looking like the wreck of the Hesperus dragging his satchel and saying, ‘I’ve had a very long day’ – I know the feeling.

X at a meeting – best manners asked, ‘Can I have another pipe clean please?’ She meant pikelet!

The family went To X Last Saturday. I went on a boat and I went on The miniture train Twice and Than went to Granny’s New house and hoD Cish and chips.

This afternoon I had X’s assistance again, as she left them both with us as she was going into town for ‘The Boyfriend’. But I must say he was very good and dug away with a fork bigger than him. The only snag was when we went down to buy some wood to finish the carport fence. We went into the Mall and he suddenly advanced on a little girl (rather smaller than him) and started a punch up – but luckily she had a slightly larger sister who defended her fairly aggressively until I could remove him.

The hyperactive batty boy certainly sounds a cross – no doubt his teacher heaved a sigh of relief at the clever idea of unloading him on you, even if only for half an hour a week.

[Drawing received with letter written on it.] This is about Beatrix potter and It’s a FiLm and we are having a Nice haiday love X. and we went to Y love from X

Travel hazards 2

I have thought of coming to England next year, but am beginning to wonder if I really have the strength. It’s not the actual flights, it’s the awful airport nonsense, and getting to the airports from here.

It was a bit off-putting at the hotel too – notices about double locking your door at night and putting the chain on and a security guard on each floor. We left there at 6.30 p.m. yesterday and stayed in the plane right through to here, stopping to fuel at New Delhi but not allowed off and arrived 5.30 a.m. and had in fact been flying 17ish hours. Vast Air Italia, 400 passengers – full. The staff couldn’t have been less interested – unlike the other lines – and the last straw in small mindedness they showed the Return of the Pink Panther but we hadn’t enough change again – I only saw one man who’d paid up $2.50 and got the headphones for sound. It looked utter rubbish in the odd moments I woke up so I didn’t mind.

We have just had a traumatic lunch. X gave me a new stove and dry/solid fuel and we were all set with picnic bits for lunches, tea, coffee etc. We started by buying cheese which turned out to be Roquefort and 250g and cost equivalent to £1 which shook us (and reminded me of the 3/6d banana!) so we only bought rolls to go with it- as we go to Crete on Monday and just can’t have butter running around, and then started up the stove which gave more heat under than on top and looked as tho’ it was going to catch the wallpaper – awful moment as we got it all onto the balcony – with soot all over the marble and my clean white shirt. However after washing the balcony and removing – I hope – all signs of our efforts we did better at the 2nd attempt and hope we’ve got it taped!

Soot on the balcony

We came on the weekend when 40,000 Alpini were expected for their annual blessing by the Pope. It gave a festive and noisy (or noisier) air to Rome – every time you moved you got one of their foot long feathers in their green hats in your eye. We’re setting forth to ‘do’ the Vatican today. We’ve got into a pensione (Select Hotel my foot!) with an elusive plumbing system. We have archaic shower in room and bidet with occasional cold water – and loo and bathroom on landing. I asked if I could have a bath any time and the proprietor say. ‘Why not?’ Now I know why not – there’s no plug and no hot water!! but it’s clean and pleasant and only 5 minutes from the termini.

What is this ‘ball lightning’ which been providing you with amusement? I don’t remember hearing of it and suspect the little green men, or the Russians (playing a double bluff on themselves)! As also with the Challenger-launched satellite which is (according to our radio) either in pieces, or following in orbit on their tail where they can’t get at it.

It sounds as though X’s having quite a time over there – I hope she gets back in one piece. Did she tell you that when she left, she left her hand-luggage at checkout, a glove on the ground, arrived after boarding-call, and didn’t know which plane she was supposed to be on!

Adult learning 2

I started language school this week. There’s one other English girl there and a couple of other English-speakers. A French girl who taught English, married to a German and with whom she speaks English as he doesn’t speak French! And a 1/2 American 1/2 French man. A host of other French people, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, Korean and so forth – really mixed! The teacher is quite good though you have to keep a dictionary near as it’s all too easy to misunderstand her explanations as they are also in German and our vocab. doesn’t stretch to exactitudes!

It’s very humiliating to read a story to a 3 year old and have him correct your pronunciation!

I’ve finished my Great Painters and started an evening course at the university called The Problems of Art. Quite different approach by younger man of more conservative type – promises to be interesting but I find it a bind having to drive into town after dinner.

This evening we were practising using the WAIS [Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS)] – not seriously enough on my part I’m afraid. It’s terrible in that lab (Psych) cos I’m always laughing or late or both. I sit with the wrong people. Next week I’m going to be serious because the woman who takes us must be getting fed up with me.

For Human Learning we have to train a rat to bar press. Our rat was perfectly friendly at first but the noise the water machine made scared him no end and he huddled in a corner for an hour and a half despite all sorts of soothing noises, stroking etc. etc. Poor little thing – it makes you feel so mean – a jolly nuisance from our point of view tho’!

The rat

She is staying with us until Friday. Most of the morning we have been tidying up my vegetable patch – and she knows the names of all the weeds in Latin, it seems, having taken an agricultural degree at Reading, around the end of the war – the first one.

I am relieved to learn from today’s letter that your acrobatics and singing class are separate classes, I thought you were outdoing the Black & White Minstrels; I was completely disillusioned when I found they didn’t actually do both at the same time! Incidentally, how did they manage when they gave live performances? I felt quite exhausted at the thought of going on to Scottish dancing after acrobatics, you must be bonkers! From my vast size it would be just the thing for me. But nearer to hand, perhaps helping X dig up the concrete drains each side of the drive with a pickaxe would be more constructive!

So one day was spent acquiring comprehensive but simple literature from the library and visiting the climatologist at the meteorology office – I hope by a combination of sagacious nodding and a show of vagueness I managed to disguise the fact that I didn’t have the faintest idea what was the function of a net pyrradiometer or couldn’t consistently distinguish between a wet bulb thermometer and an isobar! The other day was spent plumbing the depths of the mines department to try and find out if the department had to obtain a mining licence in order to prevent anyone else collaring a hunk of oil we want to quarry for processing as a cement substitute.

Hobbies 5

The sand-yacht

X is now embarking upon making a sort of sand-yacht using 3 secondhand skateboards for wheels and two broomsticks for a mast – said like that it rather sounds as if he’ll look like a cross between a witch and Tarzan in full flight!

I’m enjoying the Scottish dancing though at present feel much more inept than on the first night! The more you realise that you’re doing things wrongly, the more discouraging it is! However, we have about half an hour actual lesson for the new ones now so with any luck things may improve. Unfortunately I’ve found so far that one can do brilliant skip changes, setting reels etc. when practising but go completely to pieces when you have work out where to go as well!

Having bought a half gallon of resin at vast cost I tried to encapsulate my pumice head as no one has found a way to preserve pumice. What to do it in was the first difficulty, then I decided the best thing we had to hand was a sherry flagon. I got it standing on its neck end straight, and filled it to the shoulder with resin. (Having first tied pieces of string soaked in petrol round the base, set it alight and then plunged into cold water, and broke it off – a little alarming!) When dry I waxed this and the rest of the flagon, suspended the head upsidedown inside and started pouring the catalysed resin down the side; it said you shouldn’t pour more than quarter of a inch at once as the heat builds up and could crack it. I began very carefully, keeping the next lot of resin on ice to slow down gelling, but the afternoon drew on and I got more and more reckless until the thing gave off enormous heat – and yes, they were right, it cracked all over! and bang went my head and about $8 worth of resin! The little paper weight I tried with seed heads inbetween times worked like a dream, of course.

Our recorder group seems to be falling to pieces which is sad… Of course there was also X, who was so earnest, and used to organise little concerts for us with various groups of captive audience like pensioners which we hated – but she gave us up a couple of years ago now, and I can’t say that we were sorry, ingrates that we are! Our trouble is that none of us find time to practise regularly, so we never get any better, which must be very dull for real musicians.

Last Friday we all set off for X for our jolly bridge tournament; at present we’re saying never again. We excelled ourselves by coming bottom, very shaming. It was totally exhausting. We played from 1.30 on Saturday to 5.30 p.m., off to find our dinner, back at 7.30 and play until nearly 11 p.m. Back at 9.30 a.m. Sunday and play until 1 p.m. Then a light meal laid on by their super club (cost quarter of a million) whilst we waited for the results. (Wish we hadn’t!) Half way through Sunday morning I was so tired I could hardly follow suit yet alone be cunning.

It’s really very maddening, X is trying watercolour landscapes too, and he’s really so much better than I am, without really trying! … [Next day] When we got back after a cuppa we went back to finish yesterday’s painting; of course all colours had changed; X’s was super anyway and mine is a mess, bah! I beat him two days running at Scrabble tho’!

I do find dressmaking so much more relaxing than painting etc. as I don’t have to think so much, but now I really have no more excuses and must be creative or just admit I haven’t got what it takes, which I have a sneaking suspicion is the case!

It really does surprise me how many of my acquaintance here appear to spend all their time playing golf, bowls or croquet by day, and bridge by night. Maybe they do do all sorts of useful things in between – and come to think of it I suppose it’s not really any more constructive to spend my time growing vegetables to eat and cutting up wood to burn.

In between times I’ve bought a fibreglass boat! 9’3” long – it’s still in the shop while I chase a trailer which I hope to have by Friday. It looks a sweetie and is (provisionally) to be called Giggle.

X is having a nasty time trying to work out the bridge scores from last night, someone must have made a wrong move and some couples played the same hand 3 times without noticing it! We had a phantom twice and others didn’t have one at all, what the computer will make of the results I hate to think!

I’ve bought 32 ounces of natural wool to make X another Aran jacket, she’s worn hers almost nonstop for 5 years, and it’s beginning to look like it, I’ve lost all my lovely nails I grew on our holiday, usually not having something to do with my hands in the evening, so I hope this will be therapeutic as well as cover X. [The nails haven’t got mislaid but nibbled off…]

Pets 2

She really is a most surprising and individual dog – much too friendly, normally, as a guard dog though occasionally she produces menacing barks and growls. Every now and then she suddenly goes haywire and rushes about, often going off about fifty yards and then coming charging back straight at you. If she actually hit one at top speed she would certainly knock one over and probably break your leg as well, as she is about 10 inches across the chest and weighs 3.5 stone. Other times she dances around off all four paws at once and she has a remarkable heavy breathing act. But in another mood nothing will do but to snuggle up and lay her head on whatever portion of ones anatomy is available – however uncomfortable that leaves the rest of her!

Dancing off all four paws

There is a dog of ancient vintage, which I don’t think will last long but it doesn’t worry me as much as the thing the previous girl brought. It was a mad mongrel that barked and jumped up at everybody. So it was not with any sorrow that I said goodbye to that particular animal!

About two weeks ago she went up the hill with X and started racing down and rolled over dead – heart attack. Too sad – we miss her and in fact chose the place we’re going to to be near walking country. However, no doubt we’ll be more tempted to walk if it doesn’t mean going the same way always or take the car. We’ll wait and see how we feel when we’re settled before thinking of another.

Our beautiful Irish setter ran away one day and never came back. Either someone stole her, or she may have been shot for running deer. Either is equally possible. It hurt a lot to lose her, even though setters traditionally have a roaming tendency, and she had slipped off enough times for us to know that one day it would be for good.

We had to let the old dog be put to sleep and we got a 4 year old boxer, quite small, from animal welfare. It has been an exhausting 3 days as we have no gate and 400 metres of only barbed wire fence. But she is settling down and stays close to us. We can shut her in the little back yard when we both go out – only for church mostly.

Last year I entered a competition to name one of Henny Penny’s little chicks. I was lucky enough to win one. Eggburt was delivered three weeks ago.

Silver linings

X and I played together at the Bridge Club (my appointed partner most timely lost a relative-by-marriage at an advanced age and just the right moment) and came second, which pleased us greatly.

I realised that my brand new small case had 2 holes – because of the weight of my shopping it had dragged on the ground, so presto I hitched a lift for the rest of the way – very thankful to my Guardian Angel!

Today they have gone back to eat the remains of the feast, except that X can’t eat much having been in hospital last week; her colon is inflamed and must be on a diet before they operate! She is none too pleased, but she has lost 3 pounds in 2 days, and was glad to tell me.

I’ve had 3 happenings. I thought I’d lost my great great uncle’s ring and spent a morning hunting for it – then was just going to go out when I thought I’d better ask our neighbour as we’d had tea with them and there it was under the couch I was sitting on. Joy. Then X collecting luggage and bits for our jaunt put his hand in the top of the linen-cum-everything cupboard and found the pair of glasses I’d lost some six months ago AND I had a phone call to say I’d won the raffle of an Aran knit cardigan.

We were doing some rush shopping and got back just as the traffic cop had ordered a tow away – he rushed to his bike and managed to cancel it just in time – so her ticket was $20 instead of $40 – she played the organ at a funeral the next day, she said it would just pay it!

I’ve got flu or something at the moment. About half the school is down with it so I suppose I would hardly miss getting it. It’s a blessing in disguise really cos they’ve had to cancel house drama which was going hopelessly anyway. I was going to be a headmaster in my play but I was terrible at it. That just leaves us with a musical evening, a bio/geog trip and market day – all of which I’ll probably miss (hopefully) at this rate.

The agent’s visit occasioned a certain amount of activity such as doing a clearance in the garage – which for the moment is startling (at least to me) in its orderliness!

I heard from X last week. She remarked that although it was easier to read my typing and I got more on the page, she felt she’d lost the spirit of adventure when reading my letters!

Handwriting v. type

Diet ideas

I’ve lost a bet with X to lose half a stone. I think I’ve put on 2 lbs and she, maddening child, has lost more than she set out to! This cold weather makes me want to eat more to stoke up, and last week’s bridge, or lack of it, didn’t help. I turned up all set to find my partner was already sitting with someone, she’d just failed to put our date in her programme. I was so cross I came home, bit all my nails off and then raided my tin of meringues and whipped lots of cream and ate no less than four!

He is on to something new in natural food, etc. and now his wife is on a completely raw diet; they gave me a taste of her raw bread and it did awful things to my glands and turned my mouth down so I couldn’t even try to say it was lovely! Anyway at present she is blooming and he said it was all because of twice a day raw wheat shoot drink which is grown from special organically grown wheat, from which they make their bread. He showed me the masses of little trays he was growing his wheat in; it is ready 10-14 days after sowing, about 6 inches high, when he puts a handful in a glass of water (collected once a week from a friend’s bore!) and puts it in the liquefier and you drink it straight away!!

Raw bread and wheat grass

Wasn’t it maddening, the abscess didn’t stop me eating, I could do with losing a stone! A friend of ours has just been on brown bread and water/ coffee/tea and no milk on alternate days for 2 weeks and lost 2 kgs.

We’ve just had the most sumptuous plum pie with lots of cream as Lent is over. I’m an ass, perhaps that’s why I lost nearly 1/2 a stone. I must try and restrain myself.

I heard from X that she’d gained 3 lbs – I wonder if she’ll keep it up. Do hope so.

He only weighs a few pounds more than me – tho’ admittedly I’ve suddenly gone to nearly 11 stone and can hardly bend in the middle and none of my clothes fit so I must take action TOMORROW! The doctor’s quite unsympathetic and says it’s because I feel better and the pills I’m taking have changed my metabolism and increased my appetite – no help at all!

Our newly married aged friends have just returned from a painting holiday having lost 9 lbs each, all through taking half a teaspoon of cider vinegar in water 3 times a day, sounds foul but I’ll try anything once.

The diet book looks much easier than all that calorie counting, I was surprised how alcoholic I can be without a thought! But sad that my rather heavy homemade brown bread is 18 grams an ounce; can’t believe I can keep down to 50 a day.

Ill judged comments 3

I don’t remember judging her on this or anything else but could have suggested she made up her mind which was difficult with boyfriends in tow. If people tell me about their troubles I think silence is condoning. If I’m supposed to say Yes Sir, No Sir, I’d rather not be involved. Did she complain to you? I have more things to cope with than worry anymore on that score tho’.

Our party for the young gang was Tuesday. I’ve not recovered yet – 24 and us! …All went well except X practically threw them out half an hour earlier than they’d been invited for – two people came to collect young and he got muddled! on top of me telling someone their daughter was definitely not at our party when they rang up when she was sitting 2 yards away from me. I had some explaining to do the next morning. I was afraid she would be on the mat as to just where she was!

Pause of over an hour while X calls – she’s a bit dangerous as she’s a bit (quite a bit!) deaf and a terrific gossip – the combination produces libelous remarks!

Coming as he has from a rather liberal state school to a fairly conservative private school he’s objecting to calling the teachers ‘Sir’ – for a variety of very good reasons I might say! I don’t feel very happy giving him the full guff about respecting his elders and betters as his tutor is a complete twit! I’ve suggested that he go and ask his headmaster why this form of address is still considered appropriate when no one else in the country uses it. Should be interesting!

My opinion, uncharitable and unchristian etc etc, is that they have fled her manipulation and deviousness and need to control them.

She was talking to an acquaintance at a party the other day who commented that she never wears wraparound skirts as ‘they really make one look like the back of a bus’. X was wearing her rather snazzy homemade wrap-around skirt! Oh well, a very cuddly bus she is too!

A cuddly bus