Social distancing drinking




“Let’s be careful out there” 

Party Pieces

I woke up this morning and for some bizarre reason I was humming my childhood party piece. Oh – you mean you didn’t have a party piece. How lucky were you.

On a tree by a river a little tom-tit
Sang “Willow, titwillow, titwillow!”
And I said to him, “Dicky-bird, why do you sit
Singing Willow, titwillow, titwillow’?”
“Is it weakness of intellect, birdie?” I cried,
“Or a rather tough worm in your little inside?”
With a shake of his poor little head, he replied,
“Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow!”

We were great Gilbert and Sullivan fans. But I hated this party piece which I had to keep practising until I was word perfect. Mum said that every child needed a party piece to perform for family and friends. Was that a common thing back in the day? Did anyone else have a party piece? I do remember grimacing when I was pushed in front of people to sing this stupid song. I can’t remember what Brian’s party piece was maybe I will wake up tomorrow humming it too. Or maybe he quite rightly refused to do it. I was always a goody two shoes!

Interestingly my boys loved to put on plays and dance performances for anybody that would watch. They would spend hours practising and we would spend hours watching. How I wish I could go back to those times. Actually I have been back there this morning – in my head. Still sorting through photographs I found another huge case filled to the brim of pics. Where did they all come from and why did we take so many pictures. I mean really do I need to keep pics of my parents sitting on beaches on various annual holidays in the same costumes year after year. And besides my family who are all the other people in these pics. But it gave me a lump in my chest most of the morning remembering and missing and longing.

I also found a whole stack of letters – mum had kept every letter that I had sent her from my travels and I had travelled a lot from around aged 16 to 25. I have only just started reading them – some are hilarious and quite revealing. Poor parents they must have been so anxious about me. And in those days there were no mobile phones and telephoning was too expensive so we had to rely on the post.

There are also a whole batch of letters that mum sent to me. With many references to the white slave trade. I think she was quite obsessed with this. I remember the first time I went to London she had instilled in me slave trade paranoia. So much so that the first time I took a tube I stood with my bag covering my bottom just in case a slave trader crept up behind me and stuck a needle in my bottom. According to my mother that is what they did to innocent young girls who would then wake up in a Harem in the Middle East. It was about the same time she told me not to take any cigarettes without tips as they might be reefers. Meanwhile she smoked Senior Service (for best) and Park Drive (everyday) and neither had tips on them.

But she had every reason to be anxious about my safety. My first trip overseas was to work as an au pair in Spain for a Canadian woman called Roberta Shreiber and her playboy boyfriend Enrique. I love it that I remember all these names and yet sometimes I can’t remember the beginning of my sentence. What is that about? Roberta Shreiber came to Leicester to interview me and I remember the spectacle as they swooped into my small semi detached suburban house. She tall and beautiful and he dark and very handsome in a white suit. We were all blown away. I was despatched by plane to Switzerland to pick up her 3 children from boarding school and bring them to her villa in Marbella. A few days later she took off to Portugal with her lover leaving me aged 16 to look after these children, who took an instant dislike to me and refused to do anything I asked. When she returned 2 weeks later, I packed my bags and headed into Marbella – goodness knows where I thought I was going to stay with almost no money!

And this was just the beginning – I will reveal more later. Afterall I have to find other things to blog about so can’t give you it all in one go.

I have just remembered Brian’s party piece The King’s Breakfast A A Milne.

Let’s be careful out there”

The importance of touch

So there is this pigeon which just sits on a branch outside of my kitchen window. It is always there and stays for a long time. One time it flew down and rested on the patio and we looked at each other in a knowing way. On days when I am sad, I find it very comforting as I like to think maybe it is Tod.

“Hi Darling how goes it with you?” I fantasize that he answers. “Well Honey been flying around checking out stuff.” I loved the way he called me Honey. No one has called me this since he died. The pigeon coos, pecks on the branch, cocks its head to one side and we continue to stare at each other  until one of us has had enough. I swear not long after he died this pigeon flew onto the table next to my chair and stayed for the longest of times. I do think it is watching over me.

I miss Tod’s cuddles. He was a great cuddler. And it made me think about everyone else out there who must also be missing touch. I don’t think we realise just how important is physical contact until we don’t have it anymore. Someone said to me not long after Tod died make sure you have a regular massage because you will be missing the physical contact now that you are on your own. It is so true. It’s not about sex, more just having a hug when you need it, a stroke, a loving hand in good and in bad times, a sharing caress, a playful smack, even an angry thump.

So, I am concerned that the cost of this isolation for many people will be high. We aren’t meant to live in isolation. It isn’t good for our mental health or our immune system. I remember reading that physical contact — the good kind of contact obviously not the abusive contact – produces feel good hormones in the brain like serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin – all of which help boost the immune system and ward off illness. And we certainly need to be building our immune system right now. 

 Holding a partner’s hand, cuddling, visiting with friends or family – all of these activities are just as important to our wellbeing as remembering to drink more water and get enough exercise. So how are going to sublimate this? I would welcome your thoughts.

Right now, I could do with a really good hug from Tod. I need him to put those great big arms around me and tell me that everything is going to be ok. That our boys will survive this, our economy won’t fall apart, that the dyeing will stop, the world will recover, and normality will be restored. I know dream on Roma it aint going to happen any time soon.

And I am wondering how’s it going to be for all those singles looking for  online mates. Just think about it. How do you meet a total stranger when you’re not sure if both of you are virus free? It’s kind of risky. Where do you meet? You have to sit 2 meters apart? wearing a mask? very appealing. No touching, or handshakes, just the odd elbow knock and definitely no kissing and intimacy? I guess its cybersex which at least will be good business for the sex toy industry. .

Me – well I am not very adventurous and certainly not on the market which is just as well by the way I look.  Dressed in many layers — it is very cold in our house with no heating — I resemble a rather crumpled  bag lady. I have forgotten what make up looks like, hair is long and out of control, and my escapade with the wax strips has not been very successful.

I have though seen better days. Here I am aged 18 at a charity event.


“Let’s be careful out there”