Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Weird Creatures

Well, we've had some weird and wonderful creatures knocking at the door this evening. Wizards, witches, ghosts, fairies and a couple of skeletons - one with a hatchet in his head. All carrying little bags or buckets in which to collect their treats. Eager little faces - some painted with black noses or large whiskers - beaming under the street lights, waiting to see what they would receive.

I decided this year not to give sweets so I got a couple of punnets of baby clementines from the supermarket, thinking that their colour was rather festive. They seemed to be acceptable, especially to the parents hovering anxiously a few yards down the drive.

My next job is to go and find the cats and coax them out of their hiding places now all the knocking on the front door has ceased and things, well apart from the odd firework hissing and banging in the backgound, are back to normal.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sometimes I despair of humanity

My neigbour’s mother is 84. A few days ago she went into town to do a bit of shopping. As she came out of a shop she let the door close behind her but to her astonishment a man opened the door and shouted at her down the street that she had let the door swing back into his child’s buggy. She tried to explain that she wasn’t aware of anyone behind her but he continued to yell at her. Things like ‘stupid old bag’ and far worse. She was very shaken and upset by his manner as she really didn’t know he’d been behind her. The last words he yelled at her as he followed her in the shopping centre were ‘Well, you’ll be dead soon anyway.’ *

Why are some people so vicious and nasty? Why do they have this antagonism and arrogance towards other people whom they feel are in their way, or who are vulnerable? What happened to patience, tolerance and understanding? If you have any amount of intelligence you know when something is an accident or when it is deliberate. I can only guess that some people react that way towards older people because they are afraid of getting old themselves. As indeed, that man will be old one day and so will the child in the buggy. I just hope no one treats either of them the way he treated my neighbour’s mother.

* I think if I’d got a child in a buggy, I’d be more careful around swinging doors and I certainly wouldn’t spend time yelling after someone, I’d be more concerned that my child wasn’t hurt in any way.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Over the last couple of days two things have happened that have left me feeling sad and for some reason, slightly insecure.

On Wednesday a very dear friend phoned to say that his mother had died that morning, just woken up, told her husband she felt ill and died before the ambulance arrived. She was a lovely lady, we’d met her a few times, even, some years ago, had a holiday in her flat on the south coast, and now she’s gone.

Last night, another friend telephoned to tell me she has been diagnosed with macular degenerative disease of the eye; which probably means she will eventually lose her sight. She’s elderly and lives alone and her main comforts apart from music are reading, writing loads of letters and watching TV. How on earth will she cope?

Earlier this year another friend rang to say she had been diagnosed with the early stages of breast cancer, she has now undergone treatment and all is well, as somehow deep down inside, I knew they would be, but the worry for her was always there.

I think these things, which wonderfully brave people have to cope with every day make you feel your own fragility and make you slightly uneasy for your own future. As you get older you start to worry about these things. Today I feel really old.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Just an ordinary day

This is what I entered into the 'One Day in History' mass blog event:-

I’m up by 7.30a.m. As I draw the bedroom curtains I can’t see down to the bottom of the street for the damp & dismal fog. My first task is to rush downstairs to feed the cats and open up the cat flap. Breakfast is eaten whilst listening to and half watching the BBC news programme, then I rush around the house tidying up, washing breakfast pots and getting ready to go out. I set out about 9.30a.m.to walk down to the Post Office. I always try and walk rather than catching the bus as it is my way of getting exercise. I have to post a letter to my friend in Lincolnshire and to buy some more stamps. Most of my friends have the internet and we communicate by e-mail, except for birthdays and Christmas when traditional cards are sent through the post. The fog has lifted a little but as I walk through the recreation ground I pass a man walking his dog; he smiles ruefully at me and declares ‘Rum weather’. I nod my head and smile in agreement. The topic of conversation in the queue at the post office counter is, of course, the weather. Why are we never happy unless we are complaining about the weather? Still, it gets us all talking to each other, I suppose.

Next stop is my local supermarket for a little food shopping. I have to use the cash machine first and of course, there is another queue, no talk of the weather here though, just anxious hurried faces willing people to press the buttons a bit more quickly than they are doing. I finally get my money, after the machine has asked me various questions about my requirements. No I don’t need to ‘top-up’ my mobile phone today, thank you. I grab a trolley and set off towards the aisles where I know I can quickly pick up what I want, but no, I can’t, I have to go off on a hunt for lettuce and tomatoes because they have been moved – again. I never did find the coleslaw.

Back home I put away my shopping, drink coffee, read the newspaper headlines and then pop next door to see if my neighbours are ok – they recently had to have one of their cats put to sleep and are still upset about it. This afternoon I have various tasks to do on the computer. I’m in the middle of proof reading a booklet I’m doing for a friend but I’m distracted by an e-mail from a distant relative I have been in touch with over our family history - we share great grandparents. He found me through my web site and we have done quite a lot of detective work to find out where our great grandmother was buried, a story of accidents, widowhood, re-marriage and family disapproval has emerged. It’s too long and personal a story for here but it’s so good to have solved a mystery. Anyway, he has sent me a couple of photographs of the house our ancestors lived in, so, of course I have to thank him and download them and then print them. I think the word I’m searching for is procrastination.

The worker will soon return from his teaching job in a college so I start to think about an evening meal. Oatcakes filled with cheese, tomatoes and mushrooms with a side salad and mango chopped into mango yoghurt, not very interesting but the best I can do for now. I also manage to bake an apricot madeira cake, ready for tomorrow. Cats are fed again and then we eat and chat, watch the news and generally mull over the days events before the washing up is done, the curtains are drawn against the darkening sky and he disappears upstairs to the study with marking and lesson planning and I sit with the cats watching the television before deciding I'd much rather read and listen to some music.

One Day in History

Well, I'm going to do this today. Are you?

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Day at the Quays

On Saturday we drove up to Altrincham, parked the car and caught the metrolink tram to Salford Quays. Our first stop was The Lowry where we sat in the foyer drinking a much needed cup of coffee whilst gazing out of the huge windows onto the world outside and at the same time, observing the comings and goings inside. The architecture was stunning and at the same time welcoming. After coffee we went up the escalators to the exhibition area and wandered around the Lowry galleries, the ‘Our House’ and ‘Worktown’ exhibitions and watched the film on Lowry’s life. I couldn’t resist a small purchase in the shop as I found a postcard and pin broach of one of my favourite Lowry paintings called ‘Gentleman Looking at Something’.

We then wandered over the bridge and down to the Imperial War Museum North. Here again I found myself gazing upwards at the actual structure of the building as I wandered around the exhibitions. There is so much to see here that we were ages. P was particularly fascinated with the suspended Harrier jump jet and the T34 Russian tank. We decided to have lunch in the museum but after finding the café and deciding it was just too noisy we left but not before we climbed up the 166 steps to the viewing platform where we could see the Lowry in its full glory across the canal and in the distance the Old Trafford football ground. We found lunch in the Lowry shopping centre and then wandered back along the quayside paths to the metrolink, where there were lots of football supporters from both teams making their way up to Old Trafford. In no time at all we were headed back towards Altrincham where we picked up the car and drove home.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

October = Autumn

Suddenly, last weekend, we became aware that summer was finally over and that Autumn was really here:-