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…]

Time flies by

This year I have been prescribed my first set of reading glasses. I can read quite well without them, however at the end of the day I have to say the world did have very fuzzy edges. So, off I went, and was told that many people required glasses by middle age. How very cheerful. My eldest sister is 60 tomorrow. I have to say that the realisation of this made me pull up with a real jolt. I never thought it when she turned 50: even though I am somewhat younger, that didn’t sound anything like 60 sounds – sort of aged. So there, you have another 10 years of being young.

I am glad that you are doing new things.

new ventures

 

I have to say that as one gets older ones group of friends seems to dwindle, or you see them less often, or something. I too have felt the need to do something different and meet new people.

 

I must admit I also worry a little about how quickly the years seem to be going, the birthdays coming around much more quickly than they used to and the realisation that middle age is not so far off! However I always think of X who bought and started a sheep farm at the age of 50. She is in her mid-70s now, with the farm quite successful… How one avoids or copes with the bodily ills rather than those of the mind I don’t know.

…a year since we set off from Southampton. It is amazing that time can go so quickly. I keep thinking of what we were doing a year ago – getting up and having rolls on deck, having dinner with that dreadful man (remember the sardine appetiser?), charging up and down B deck.

I surprised everyone, and not least of all myself, by having a stroke in middle of June. At least I was sensible and was able to rest and recover lounging in the garden – I felt like the last of the Colonial Empire – laying back under the trees for hours on end. Don’t be shocked at being 50. I was 70 this year – whatever next!

X’s surviving brother, 89, came over from Spain in the summer and while here did two stints on television – one in ‘The Bill’ and one for a new series of ‘As Time Goes By’ with Judi Dench – great for his morale but stressful.

I thought I felt old when the children of friends started getting married, but it’s even worse when people my age announce that they’ve retired or are thinking of retiring. Where have the last fifty-two years gone to? X’s father died just two days after his eighty-seventh birthday. Although he’d been suffering from Alzheimer’s for several years, and his death was, in fact, a happy release from his torment, X and I were suddenly acutely aware of having moved up a generation, as it were. It’s not that we feel any older (or wiser!), just nearer to the other end of our lives.