Scrabble

Not sure that I am taking sufficient notice of  yesterday’s Note to self.

IMG_2098 (1)

Clearly  the ‘clean up before you go to bed’ is not working.  I am sincerely concerned that I am becoming a slob.

As usual I awoke at 6 and was in my local park at 6.15 by 7,  I was back in bed with my coffee and Netflix  wondering how I was going to fill the next 15 hours.  Cue Word Feud, I have 12 people waiting for me to have my turn.  Some of the players are my friends but the majority are anonymous. And I have no idea who they are. Male or female, where they live in the world, how old they are and what they look like. It’s all very strange but in this Coronavirus virtual world I welcome them all.

 I have a friend who plays scrabble online and she knows exactly what they look like! She  is also well acquainted with the intimate parts of their bodies. How do I know this? Well one day she showed me – warts and all. And for days after  I couldn’t get the image out of my head.  Suffice to say  that even my adult children would have been shocked. 

 I am wondering why no one has ever approached me for this kind of game.  Maybe for the same reason that in 35 years of marriage nobody ever  flirted with me.  I think it is probably something to do with my levels of oxytocin – clearly, they are not very high. This doesn’t bode well if I ever want another relationship.  

Meanwhile back to my legitimate game of scrabble. Did you know that the following words are in the dictionary: thine, tef, yon, bor, tun, rah, vee, sey, ag,  azo  and these are only from my last two games.  All used by me. What do they mean? Well you might well ask. I have no idea.  And it really doesn’t matter  as a silly little word like  AZO on a treble letter score  and if conjoined with another word could bring you a massive  score of around 55 points. Oh, how my world has shrunk. 

The high light of  today was the Waitrose Delivery.  As I am self-isolating  it was all left on my door step in plastic bags.  Armed with disposable rubber gloves I decamped it on to my patio table. Then sprayed it with a Dettol solution. I think I will leave it there until this evening in the hope that any COVID-19 virus has been dissipated.  The cat is bemused.  I can see her having a conflab  with Izzi. 

“What on earth is going on in this house. Firstly, everybody disappears, then that woman who feeds us spends all her waking hours washing her hands and now she is leaving all the food outside and spraying it with a horrible smelling liquid.”    I think this is the first time that cat and dog have agreed on anything. 

food

Now you might think that this  is an awful lot of  food for one person  but in two weeks  when Toby and Linda finish their self-isolation they will be returning home.  Yay

On surfing the internet this week I came across an article from a  few years ago entitled “Making an adventure out of the banality of life. ”   I could certainly do with that right now. My life is anything but an  adventure. Unless, of course, trying not to die is an adventure. 

The author of the article talks about how her husband makes  taking the garbage out an adventure.  Yes this is pre-pandemic.  Apparently,  he challenges himself to see how many bags of rubbish he can squeeze into the dustbin. She goes to say that when he hits a new record of ‘bag squishing’  it becomes the high light of his week. And I thought that I was a sado.    She in turn finds joy in doing a sock-load of laundry and ending up with matching pairs.  Well I can second that. I have absolutely no idea where the errant socks go.  I have yet to discover The  Land of the Lost Socks. 

Let’s be careful out there” 

 

Messy Girl

So, coming downstairs  this morning to make my morning coffee I was   shocked by the mess that greeted me in the kitchen. “Who made this mess. “Why can’t you just clean up after yourself. Is it so difficult to wash your plate?”  OMG it’s just me. I am the messy one.  Sheepishly I slunk back to bed with my coffee contemplating this new revelation. Left alone with no witnesses I  really am a messy person.

Note to self:  Get your house in order.

And not only am I messy   I am also prone to laziness.  Having slunk back to bed, I then stayed there for 2 hours finishing off my Netflix series.  “So why not,” I said to  the bedroom furniture,  wtf else is there to do?”  The dog is getting very concerned about this new relationship I am having with the inanimate objects. In the kitchen this morning there was a lot of jealousy in the spoon drawer. “Pick me pick me,” said the small silver one. “Not fair she picked you last time it’s my turn today,” said the bigger spoon giving the little one a shove.  I intervened. “Ok guys there’s lots of time you will all get a chance to be picked,” Perhaps the dog is right to be concerned.  Only another 74 days to go. By which time I will probably be on very close terms with all the cutlery.

We have this Tom and Jerry thing going on in the house. A visiting Tom cat seems to have taken a liking to our house. Have posted his picture on  the Next door  website but there have been no takers. Entering through our cat flap he  roams about the house with such confidence — typical tom — that you would think  that he really does live here. This is until he is discovered either by me or by Izzi who tears after him after him at full pelt. Tom just manages to exit the cat flap before Izzi  snaps his tail . I fear that very soon  either Tom is not going to make it out in time or Izzi is going to smash her face on the cat flap. I’m not complaining  anything for a bit of distraction.

It’s almost time for my virtual bridge game.  I often wonder what my mother would say if she could see me discussing trumps and point counts.  She was a fanatical  bridge player and  would play 3 or 4 times a week with three somewhat disparate men. Sometimes she would creep in at dawn having been playing all night, well that’s what she said anyway.   Mum was very beautiful and very funny, and the three men adored her. Peter was a rather large builder; Roy was a Leicester university maths professor and Zoli was a Hungarian exile. Unbelievable that I can remember their names from 60 years ago and yet I cannot remember what I had for breakfast.  What’s that about?

In addition to the men she would play with three local women.  We  were quite poor growing up and my brother and I were latch door key children  as both my parents worked full time. So, when it was her turn to host the game she would bake cakes either first thing in the morning or the night before. I remember one time when she made chocolate eclairs and to ensure they were still there when her guests arrived, she left a note on them  which read: “I have spat on every single one of these.” We quite liked mum’s spit!

Yesterday I spoke about desperate consumer selling – well some are doing quite well. Clearly the on line beauty industry is booming – can’t think why. John Shopping for moisturiser I found that John Lewis was completely out of stock for Bobby Brown, Lancome, Clinique, Nars, and Dior. I know not exactly vital, but a girl has to try.

Let’s be careful out there

 

No longer a Dorian Gray

Our local Golf Club is closed which is bad news for golfers but good news for us dog walkers. Vast open spaces without fear of bumping into joggers or those ignorant selfish families that  think it is ok to walk on mass taking up the whole path. Time to start dishing out  an Asbo.   I am a golf course virgin having never felt the call to take up this sport. Maybe it has something to do with growing up in Leicester where  it was common knowledge that Jews couldn’t join the local golf club.  But hey I am not one to hold a grudge – I promise not to trample over your neatly mowed lawns.  

golf

I  fear my Dorian Gray days are over. Until recently  I hadn’t considered myself as old. In fact I always felt rather middle aged. That was until Coronavirus. I  have been endowered with my mother’s skin  and have very few wrinkles. I could easily pass as being in my mid fifties.  Sadly those days are over. 

I remember on my 50th birthday we went out to dinner with the children and I thought it time I fessed up that I wasn’t really 35. They were shocked and the youngest was very upset, “are you going to die soon,” he cried. Fast forward a few years and I  am now officially old. I know this because the government and the press keeps describing people of my age as elderly. Stop it please, its not helping with my anxiety which is already way higher than is healthy.

While I am on the subject of anxiety I have a request to my friends. Please stop telling me about people you know who have died. I am not watching the news for that very reason. Today almost got  cancelled because of this  and I had to hide under my duvet and binge watch on Netflix. 4 Hours later I emerged to write this blog.  So no more messages, emails, phone calls with depressing news. 

On a more positive note the community spirit on my road is  uplifting.  It’s like a long market with free goods being exchanged and left on door steps for collection.  So today one lady decided to clear out all the toys no longer required and offered them up to those with young families. They were snapped up immediately.  I think I’ve got a whole case of beanie babies in the loft. Another had flour and someone else  had  milk and  I was offered by a neighbour who knows I am alone, some delicious peanut butter and jam cookies and a tomato plant. I, in turn offered her a cucumber. Both were left on our respective doorsteps.  Depending on my consumption I might offer a few peppers tomorrow.

You’ve got to feel sorry for the companies trying to flog their wares. My in box is full of them.

Retirement mortgages – are you over 65 what is the right solution for you? Hello are you not following what is happening. Will we even get to next year?

Clarks shoes and Fit Flop offering 20% of your second pair. Really why would we  even need one pair of shoes. I am living in my slippers. 

Big discounts on designer handbags – shop for your Louis Vuitton and Gucci here. Absolutely I  am sure my furniture would be very impressed.

Shop for your spring denim here. Has no one told GAP that spring has been cancelled.

So today I did something I have never done before. My father – who was a tailor, would have been impressed.  I darned my glove. I even found a darning mushroom in my old sewing box. The moths had been at my cashmere gloves. And it felt very satisfying. I mean there are only so many television programmes one can watch. The fact that I remembered how to darn is interesting. The only time I have ever done this was 60 years ago in school. And for those who have never seen a darning mushroom…

..darning this one

Lets be careful out there

 

Am I dispensable?

I am wondering when I see groups of young people gathering in parks and on streets, completely ignoring the ‘social distancing’ dictate, whether it is a deliberate ploy to get rid of us oldies.  Time for us to bail out and make room for the next generation.  Apparently, we have had it too good, us baby boomers.  And if we continue to draw our state pensions, for which we have worked all our lives, then there will be nothing left for the generation below us. Of course, there is a chance that I am being paranoid. But I woke up this morning with a very uneasy feeling.

Mornings are not my best time of the day particularly as I seem to be waking earlier and earlier. Today I was in my woods at 5.30 even before the sun rose.  If I am not careful soon, I will be waking up before I go to bed.  The irony is that for so many years I could hardly drag myself out of bed desperately wishing for just another 30 minutes of sleep. And now – well up at 5 and I have the whole day to fill.

So how did today pan out. I am not going to lie – so far not very well. 6.30 back to bed with a cuppa and Netflix, watching the last episode of Orthodox a 4-part drama series. Very good. Those Haredi Jews are something else. 8.00 breakfast of porridge. No appetite but forcing myself to eat.  9.00 Pilates.  Desperately needed to stimulate my endorphins. 10.00 phone calls to children and friends. 11.00 the start of the big spring clean.

I remember at this time of the year my mother an observant Jew, would start the meshuggah pre-Passover clean up. For non-Jews well it’s a long story goes back to Pharaoh times just google it. It would entail every room in the house being cleansed and even the tiniest bread crumb removed. All the Passover crockery and cooking utensils would be schlepped down from the loft to replace our current apparatus which would be hauled back in the loft for the 8 days of Passover. As it got closer my mother’s neurosis would intensify until the day before when my brother and I would be exiled to the garden whatever the weather with strict instructions not to return for at least 5 hours and then only once we had emptied our pockets and ensured we were completely devoid of any food particles. And then we would have to starve until the kosher for Passover food arrived. Yes, it was all a bit crazy. But in a way I miss the rituals.

Now, of course, I have plenty of time for the big spring clean, but I can do it at my leisure. Time is such an odd commodity. The dictionary defines it: the progression of events from the past into the future. Time is not something we can see, touch or taste but we can measure its passage. But sadly, time only moves in one direction and while it is possible to move forward in time we can never go back. Hence the frustration of hindsight. The ‘the number of — if only’s –I have had in the last 10 days. And the promises I have made.

I will endeavour tonight to stay up later in the hope I just might wake up past 5.30. Need to shorten my day. I know I know I need to see it as an opportunity to do all the things that in the past I never had time for. And on a good day I get it. But perhaps not today.

So, to end on a positive note:

 

poem

“Let’s be careful out there”

Runners

How do you feel about runners?  Admittedly they can be a noble bunch and I salute their quest to stay healthy especially right now. But  and there is a big BUT  here, there are some jerks out there and I had the pleasure of meeting one of them this morning on my 6.30 am dog walk.  The paths in our woods are quite narrow which is why I walk so early in the morning being mindful of social distancing.  Some runners, however don’t seem the slightest bit interested in social distancing and this morning I ended up in a ditch in my plight to avoid coming too close to the runner in question. Did he think of stopping? slowing down? getting out of my way? moving to the other side of the path? Oh no he was too intent on keeping up his speed and nothing, not even a rather scruffy 60+ lady  with a very old dog was going to stop him.

Hello – the word does not care about your run. Do you not realise that drivers only veer away from you to avoid a manslaughter charge, cyclists only get out of your way so they themselves are not flung over their handlebars and us walkers step aside to let you pass to avoid being trampled on. The world does not care about your run.  So please don’t behave like an ass.

Pair of legs walking on a trail in nature towards the light

Not content with isolation I now also have a boiler issue. It is leaking water, making odd noises, and threatening with total shut down. Please please last me until the warmer weather arrives. Plumber visits are out as my underlying conditions means I need to stay in isolation. So, I am existing on a wing and a prayer.

Have  you read The Room  by Emily Donoghue or seen the movie. Powerful story about a mother and son  told through the voice of five year old Jack. The room is his entire world – it is where he  was born, grew up and where he has learnt to read, write, play and where he sleeps. Room is home to Jack, but to his mother it is a prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years.  Jack’s playmates are the inanimate objects in the room. They all have names.   Clearly, I am not imprisoned but I am developing a relationship with the inanimate objects in my home.  Yesterday I had a conversation with the oven.  It went something like this:

“What’s that smell, oh dear you poor oven I really do need to clean you. I promise tomorrow I will put aside an hour  and get scrubbing. Let me just check if we have any oven cleaner. Oh no all out I will put it on my next Waitrose order  – which might just be June 2021. And then it was the spoons turn. Yes, I really  did have a conversation with a spoon.  And I am only 7 days into self isolation by the end of three months I suspect I am going to have personal relationships with all the objects in the house.  I guess the time to start worrying is when they reply!!

My relationship with Izzi  the dog needs working on.  While in the past she would be  excited when it was walk time, now it takes a bit of persuading. 

dog not wanting to walk

In the words of Michael Conrad from the excellent series Hill Street Blues which is also going to become my sign off:

“Let’s be careful out there.”

A Tsunami

I have this image of us sitting on a beach and way out in the ocean far far away we see this tsunami. “Wow, look at that,” we say. “It looks terrifying, those poor people over there. ” And then we get on with our lives, every now and then look at the tsunami and empathise with the people. Then suddenly, almost without any warning, the tsunami is with us and our lives change dramatically, more than any of us could ever have imagined. And possibly will never be the same again.

So, I guess I am wondering why we seemed to have been so ill prepared. Surely, we knew it would be coming our way. Well Bill Gates certainly did. I don’t know if any of you listened to his Ted Talk in 2015 where he predicted a possible worldwide epidemic. The link is below but I will summarise it for you.

He said the greatest risk of a global catastrophe that would kill over 10 million people worldwide would likely be a virus. The failure to prepare for this could allow the next epidemic to be dramatically more devastating than Ebola which killed around 10,000 people in just 3 western African countries. He even predicted that we could all be walking around with the virus and feel quite well – which is what is happening to many people right now – and yet be infectious.

To prepare for this he said we need to develop strong health systems in poor countries, a large medical reserve corps, to pair medical people with the military and to run germ games and not war games.

And he ended on a very sober note saying that we need to get going because time is not on our side. One positive thing he said that came out of Ebola was that it could serve as an early warning – a wakeup call to get ready. And all of this was 5 years ago. I fear it fell on deaf ears. www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates_the_next_outbreak_we_re_not_ready?

Apologies for a somewhat downbeat blog but it is what it is.

Now I will get back to planning my evening entertainment. Another episode of the superb drama Last Tango in Halifax, only after I have got back to the 10 people on Word Feud (on line scrabble) who are waiting for me to have my turn, and the children say I must watch Captain Fantastic on Netflix. Baked potatoe for one in the oven, and then it is bed with my nightly catch up of The Archers. Poor Kirsty, she is going to have such a shock when she finds out her fiance is running his construction business using slaves.

And the day has disappeared – who would have thought that a day could pass so quickly with so little to show for it.

My Shangri-La

woods
Woods behind my house

You know when you are in a Yoga or Pilates or Meditation session and they ask you to go your ‘special place’. Well this is mine and I am there everything morning with Izzi the dog at around 6.30 am. And it is incredibly beautiful and serene. You wouldn’t think when you are there that the world around us is falling apart.

I hadn’t realised that this was my Shangri-La until recently. And having this wonderful place on my doorstep has and continues to be my saving grace. It is also where I have put a beautiful green wrought iron bench in memory of Tod – but mindful of the Corona virus I no longer sit on it.

Where does this wonderful word Shangri-La come from? It is probably one of the most enduring myths of a lost paradise. I think right now we are all drawn to a fantasy of a paradise, safe from the ravages of this horrible virus where we could all live in harmony with nature, and where the wisdom of the planet is saved from destructive elements.

I am feeling quite brave today for last night I had to deal with the things that I usually leave to my son. I rescued a Queen Bee that was stuck in a cobweb — I know I will get to the cobwebs soon — So, unable to open the bedroom windows, and armed with a piece of cardboard and a glass I managed to capture the bee and take her into the garden. And just an hour later, while watching Boris, Mo my cat trots through the cat flap with a little brown mouse, still wriggling. Feeling confident by the bee success I proceeded to use the same method and freed the trembling little thing from the clutches of Mo’s mouth.
She was not amused and refused to look at me for the rest of the evening. I have yet to face my very worst fear ‘the spider’.

So here is one of my spider stories. A few years ago when I was on a Safari Holiday with Tod in Southern Africa I had a really scary encounter with a giant spider. Bleary eyed, I fell out of bed at 5 am and reached for my clothes. And there, sitting on top of my shorts, was a huge –  and I mean gigantic –  no even larger than that –  as big as a house – hairy Spider. I kid you not, it was bigger than my dinner plates.  Now I am no coward: I have faced snakes, scorpions, elephants, and bears but big hairy spiders, well that just feeds my arachnophobia big time.

So, what did I do? Obviously. I screamed, ran into the toilet, and told Tod that our thirty-year marriage was on the line if he didn’t deal with it immediately. As I cowered in the toilet, door firmly locked with towel covering the crack under the door, I heard banging, swearing and the clank of the patio door.

“It’s gone,” he shouted. “Are you sure,” I whimpered cowardly. I won’t report the expletives that came forth. For the rest of the day I just kept looking at him with a renewed admiration. My hero.

Our Game Reserve Driver was not amused. “You should never kill a spider,” he said adding, “ they are just water spiders and are easy to coax outside.”

“Your marriage was not on the line,” explained Tod. Actually it was part of our marriage contract that he would deal with the spiders. But once again it is going to have to be big girl time.

Note to myself: Buy long handled spider catcher from Amazon.

I did start my cleaning today. The internet was down and well what is a gal supposed to do. So I took my first ever selfie. My cousin Barbara said “DO NOT POST THIS PICTURE ROMA”. You know what Barbara its ok I don’t mind people seeing me how I am at the moment. Staying alive seems to be top of my agenda. I have been in slochy clothes ( I think slochy is a word but you know what I mean) for over a week. And very soon my hair is going to start resembling my age!!! And that is going to make me very sad. Anyway because I don’t know how to import the images from the media section on this site and no-one so far has come to my aid, the pic is so small that you won’t get to see all the wrinkles and premature aging that has occurred over the past few weeks. Just wanted to show you that I have started on my ‘to do’ list.

In hindsight she’s probably right I do look a sight. I will just have to go to my ‘special place’ for a bit of TLC.

cleaning