I’ve temporarily closed this blog due to the pressure of other projects, sorry.
Watching the grass grow.
Thought for today.
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I’ve temporarily closed this blog due to the pressure of other projects, sorry.
I know it’s hard to resist dwelling on the past. I am tempted at times to dwell on the past because in my younger days life seemed so difficult. I made bad decisions that affected the family and the people around me. There isn’t anything I can do now to wipe the slate clean. What I have done is to resolve never to make such bad decisions again.
After my divorce I had to move on and start a new life. I met a lovely Irish lady, Pat, and we hit it off immediately. This time I changed my outlook on life and made a conscious decision to make this relationship work by following the Quaker code of living, as she did. Life was great with Pat, and I appreciate the memories of those 11 years we spent together, being with Pat and sharing our lives together to me was the best time of my life. Unfortunately Pat died 13 years ago, and I had a hard time of coming to terms with it, but I must not hanker for those times and have moved on.
I try to see the past as a separate room from the one I live in now. I can go there, but I don’t live there anymore.
I now leave a little space for myself each day. What do I do with that time? Answer; absolutely nothing! This is a little space just for me (me-time), a breather, a time to sit still and do nothing. Just breathe. I sit there for about 15 minutes, just meditating, and not worrying, just ‘being’ while I meditate on the pleasure of being alive. Well, it’s better than the alternative!
I have a lodger moving in today. I suppose it will seem a little daunting at first because I have lived alone for twenty plus years. I have never wanted anyone to live with me in my house, but now that I’m a young 80yr old I get lonely and a bit down at times. I don’t go out much now, I’m a stay-at-home person really. I used to enjoy going out and about but it’s no fun now because I had to give up my car for health and financial reasons.
I had often toyed with the idea of having someone to stay here as a lodger and/or as a companion but I have always talked myself out of it. That was until recently.
So I made a decision that it was time to make up my mind once and for all and do something about it, and offered a friend a place at my house. I had two empty rooms, one of which was already furnished as a bedroom so all she had to do was just move in.
Betsy, it’s not a Random Act of Kindness, because I thought about it for a full three minutes, so it was a premeditated act. I’m sure I made the right decision. . . .
When in town on Monday I met an old flame hadn’t seen for many years. To my old eyes she still looked as beautiful now as she was then. Over the years I have often wished I had asked her to marry me, but at that time I was too busy living the high life with my mates. When I did decide to ask her, I found out she had recently married someone else.
She had her granddaughter with her, a very pretty teenager with impeccable manners. I suggested that we went for a coffee at Costa Lot to catch up on the events of the last lost years.
We must have sat and chatted for a good hour, both realising we had missed out being with each other in all those years. She had two disastrous marriages, both ending in divorce, and I said I had been divorced and was now living alone (hint?).
I told her about the time my ex-wife was pregnant in the first three years of married life. In those days, 1960’s, it was still the norm to have your baby at home, unless there were complications. Her time was getting very near, but we were very well prepared with the help of my mother-in-law and the mid-wife.
Then quite suddenly she went into labour early one morning, before her time. So I ran to the mother-in-laws house and told her to get round there as quickly as possible while I went to the phone box to contact the mid-wife. We lived on an estate where there was only one public phone box about 200 yards away. I got there only to discover it had been vandalised, the handset had been ripped out and the money box had been smashed open and obviously the money had gone.
By then I was getting frantic and then I remembered there was one private phone on the estate belonging to a local member of the Council. I dashed to his house and rang the bell. He opened the door after about 5 mins and I explained the situation to him and asked to use his phone. He said “Certainly not, this phone is private and will remain that way. I’m fed up with you people coming to the door asking to use it!” With that he slammed the door in my face.
So I had to run just over a mile to get to the next phone box, which was in working order luckily. I garbled out my message to the midwife and she said she would come straight away. I was out of breath, but somehow I managed to run the one and half miles back home, just in time to see the midwife pull up outside. We both rushed upstairs to the bedroom to see my wife holding my son and beaming all over her face, and saying “What kept you?”. My MIL had done a wonderful job, so all was well, I was more knackered than my wife was!
Wendy said what an terrible experience to go through, and then her Granddaughter piped up with “But why didn’t you use your mobile?” I was dumbfounded because she obviously thought mobiles had been around forever! Rather than try to explain I replied “Cos the battery was flat, I forget to charge it, Wendy will explain later when I’ve gone”.
I am one of those people who like to lead an organised life. Before I even get out of bed I look in my Filofax to see what the agenda is for that day and then plan my chores around whatever appointments are in there.
For instance if the page is blank I might decide to make my weeks supply of bread and possibly a cake. Then if I have enough ingredients I prepare and cook as many individual meals as I can and freeze them for later consumption. Yesterday I made three spaghetti bolognese, and two beef hotpots, a fruit cake and two large loaves. Once I’ve got my “Cordon Bleu”** apron and chefs hat on I’m on a roll and don’t like to be interrupted.
OK, so it was fine today, I wasn’t interrupted except for two phone calls. If someone had turned up unannounced I would have been very annoyed at having to leave the cooking half finished to talk to them. I know what you are thinking. “Why doesn’t he tell them to go away and arrange to come some other time”. The trouble with that is the person concerned takes offence and I don’t see them for a while. (sometimes that’s a good thing!) Surely it’s not too much to ask people to pre-arrange a visit when they want come round, or phone first to see if I’m in and receiving visitors? That way no one feels rejected or “put out”. But my friends never do that!
I was taught by my Grandparents (who dragged me up) to never impose myself on anyone unannounced, and I never do. I always contact people beforehand to arrange a visit. It is called etiquette, or good manners; something this present generation has never heard of it seems.
So please, if ever you are passing my house, just keep going, unless I’m expecting you!
The Dylan Thomas International Prize, sponsored by Swansea University, was launched at an event hosted by the Secretary of State for Wales, the Rt. Hon. David Jones MP in 2014.
The International Dylan Thomas Prize, which is the largest literary prize in the world for young writers, is aimed at encouraging creative talent worldwide. The Prize was first opened for entries on St David’s Day, 1st March 2014. In recognition of Dylan Thomas’s 39 years of literary productivity and creativity, the Prize is open to young writers of 39 and under.
The prize is a mere £30,000, and fame and fortune for the winner, well, in Wales anyway.
Here is one of my favourites poems. It’s from “Under Milkwood” by Dylan Thomas.
I turned eighty on the 2nd May and I have realised that my life has changed. I can no longer do the things I have always loved to do in the past.
This morning I was sorting through some boxes containing copies of my calligraphy commissions from decades ago. I always made photocopies of everything I did. As I looked through the pages I kept thinking “Did I really do that?”. Some of the stuff I couldn’t actually remember doing, it looked so strange that I thought I was looking at someone else’s work. Well in a way I was, because the Keith of those past years is not the same Keith that you all love and admire now.
I realise that I would never be able to achieve that standard of lettering now, unless somebody comes up with a cure for arthritis. These days I can barely hold a knife and fork, let alone one of my treasured pens. My handwriting now looks like I could have written it with a knife and fork! This particular font was created from my handwriting in the old days! Good,innit?
I will leave you with one example from the past I picked out at random. I did show this particular example on a previous blog, now long gone.
I just hate it when the doorbell rings and I open the door and there stands Mr and Mrs Acquaintance, with the their little horrors they fondly call ‘the kids’.
So being a gentleman (or a complete idiot) I invited them in. I didn’t really have much choice, because the little brats had already shoved past me and were in the kitchen busy raiding the biscuit tin and fridge. I said, ”How nice to see you again (liar) after all this time. Let’s see now, how long has it been? Two years? Three?” as I put the kettle on, hoping I hadn’t left the drinks cabinet open.
Mr Acquaintance (I think his name is Harry, not sure) shouted down to the kitchen, “Did you know that Alice got married and had a baby?” (who the heck is Alice?) “No” I said, hoping I sounded sincere, “That’s nice. Who would have thought it?” (not me for sure!)
Mrs Acquaintance suddenly appeared in the kitchen as I was pouring the teas. I didn’t have to get the kids a drink, they had already found my stash of Tizer and were seeing how quickly they could empty the bottle. She proclaimed, “Harry (I was right!) has been promoted and transferred from the Council Slaughter House, and is now in charge of the Refuse Collection team (dustbin men)”. “That’s nice” I replied. (What do I care?)
“Did you get our Christmas Newsletter last year?” Harry asked I replied, “Oh, yes I did, (all five A4 pages of closely typed details of their adventures) absolutely riveting stuff, (bored me sh**less). In fact I read it twice.” (liar)
So we settled down to three hours of boring small talk, during which time I made several more cups of coffee and refilled the cake stand twice. Those ‘kids’ sure knew how to stuff them down their throats. Harry bragged about his new car, his holidays in Italy, their holiday home in Bogtown-on-Sea (pity it wasn’t in Afghanistan) and other uninteresting topics. To which I kept replying “That’s nice”.
They took the hint to go when I changed into my pyjamas and wound the the cat up and put the alarm clock out for the night. “We’re not keeping you up are we?” asked Mary (finally remembered her name) I gave a big yawn and said “Well, I do have to be up at the crack of dawn. Me and the boys from the pub are going badger-gassing early tomorrow morning”. Mary gave me a wry smile and said “That’s nice” (I think she had cottoned on to what that really meant. . . .) Have you, dear reader?
Some of this story is not strictly true, but most of it is (?). The names have been changed to protect the guilty.
I recently bought a mobility scooter, a case of “needs must”, because my arthritis is getting worse. I can only walk for about 100 yards now with the aid of a stick.
The mobility scooter is a Class 2 model, which means that it can only be driven on the footway, or pavement as it used to be called. The only time I can legally go on the roadway is to cross over. Top speed is 4 mph (walking speed) which doesn’t give me much time to get out of the way of the speeding cars. It doesn’t have lights, just rear reflectors, so crossing the road at night can be a bit dodgy, especially when some of our street lamps go off at midnight.
In some of the other roads there are one or two people who park on the footway, or halfway on it, making life difficult for the visually handicapped and elderly. Its the young mothers with their pushchairs who most at risk. I believe there was an incident a while back in another town where a child was killed and the mother injured trying to maneuver around a parked car.
My issue now is with the idle people who leave their wheelie bins out on the footway 24/7 and don’t bother to put them back on their own property. I wont go and ask them to remove the bins, because it is obvious that they don’t know the law and are probably people who think they have a right to flaunt it if they do know.
UPDATE (2 Dec 2016): The issue has now been resolved. The local Council came and had a look, and warned the householders that further action would be taken if they continued to obstruct the footway on non-bin days.
Driving on the pavement with intent to park.
Although parking is generally permitted at the side of the road, except where there are restrictions or a specific offence has been committed, driving actually onto the pavement or footway (to park or otherwise) is an offence.