Fiscal juggling

I failed. Once a news junkie always a news junkie. It’s a drug and I am an addict. My favourite job when I was a journalist was cutting the papers. This was a time when Fleet Street was booming. When the Amstrad had not yet hit our desks. A time when we smoked and drank without health and safety warnings. We stayed out late without concerns about the morning and before the accountants told the owners it was time to move. It was a time before it all became sanitised. My day would begin with a cup of coffee, a cigarette, a pair of scissors and all the daily papers. Pure joy. Great way to start the day. Doing it online doesn’t give you the same buzz. It is the physical activity of something tangible like newspaper and a pair of scissors. Ok so  I am just an old fogey.

I have also failed to understand why we suddenly have so much money for Boris to promise billions to invest. One minute we are in austerity and then suddenly we have all this dosh. Has it been hiding under a bed at Number 10? I admit that I am fiscally challenged but anyone else share my confusion? In a bid to become a bit more competent  I  enrolled in an economics masterclass. Five minutes in and I needed a dictionary. Some people’s  brains are just wired differently.  I have  finished the first section and quite honestly, I am now even more confused. None of it seems real. It all relies on so many intangibles. It’s a bit like juggling and trying to keep all the balls in the air at the same time. And at this moment the balls are not looking very steady. The economist talks about Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. Remember the Road Runner cartoon when Wile E. Coyote was tricked for the umpteenth time into running off the edge of a tall cliff, when he appeared to be momentarily suspended in mid-air before plummeting towards the ground. It was only when he looked down that he fell. Well it seems that is what it is all about. I know a very simplistic explanation from a complete economic ignoramus.

What happened to funny Roma one of my friends asked. She complained that my blogs were getting a bit heavy. That I am no longer ‘fun Bobby’. Fans of Friends will get this. She might be right. I blame the news. But before I change track, I have to share the video below with you. It seems that some Americans have a direct line with God when it comes to the topic of masks. It could be a comedy but sadly it  isn’t. I watched in horror as Florida residents have their say on wearing masks in public places. I will leave you to experience the full extent of the moronic comments. (Moron has become my go to word during this pandemic) but as a taster one woman said that she doesn’t wear underwear for the same reason that she won’t wear a mask – “stuff has to breath” and another said that God has given us the miracle of breath and now the state wants to take it away. This is why Trump just might get re-elected if he doesn’t pull out of the race. Please watch it so you understand what is happening in America right now. 

On my dog walk today I watched a bunch of children jumping off the edge of the bank and swinging across the river. There were squeals of delights and laughter as they showed their prowess in managing this difficult manoeuvre. Took me back to my local gang days. In order to join the gang, you had to perform certain tasks. One was jumping off the bank and swinging across the river at the bottom of our garden. The leader – a boy called Oliver, who I could quite imagine that nowadays  would have been in a far more questionable gang than  was ours  — said I had to do it with my eyes closed. I was 9. Needless to say, he lied, and I fell flat on my face. He also said that I had to take my knickers down to join the gang. It was just me and one other girl in the gang – a girl called Angela who would have happily taken her knickers down for anybody. When I refused (my mother had instilled into me the importance of keeping my knickers on at all times) my brother stepped in and said it was ok because he had already ‘seen it.’ 

I leave you today with new research from the University of Nottingham into the likelihood of alien civilisations in our galaxy. Apparently, there are just over 30 each with intelligence and technology to contact other planets.   However, the chances of contacting any of them are very slim because the closest one is likely to be 17,000 light years away which means that communication would take 6,120 years.

See being a news junkie has its positives. 


“Let’s be careful out there” 




A Sense of Purpose

Feeling nostalgic. Grey outside – what day is it? Sunday? Monday? Takes a minute or two to work out if it is still the weekend or the start of the working week – for some. For others it is just another day in lockdown. So, it’s important that I get up, get dressed and take the dog out. In the park I see a mum with her two toddlers, and not only can I remember this time clearly, I can actually feel it. It’s a good feeling – warm and fuzzy and makes me smile.  And it got me thinking about those days which in a way were easier because I knew what were my roles. I was the mother of 3 boys, I was a daughter, I was a sister, I was a wife and I was a journalist. I am still a mother but a different kind of mother. My parents, my brother and my husband are all dead. So now I have to find a new role, a new purpose. A recent survey of almost 7000 adults between the ages of 51 and 61 showed that having a purpose decreases your chance of premature death. And those without a sense of purpose were almost twice as likely to die in the four years of the study. If COVID doesn’t get me than I would hate it to be my lack of purpose that does the deed. graph sense of purpose Izzy was bored with my musing and sat patiently with the ball in her mouth waiting to play.  She looked very grey round the mouth, her jowls drooped,  she was panting and she looked old. Actually, we have a lot in common! “How would you like a little puppy to play with,” I asked. She cocked her head to one side, and I am sure I heard her say, “Really another small thing in the house, a cat is not enough. Stop prevaricating find your purpose?” Izzi is a very intelligent dog  –  a cross between a Belgium Shepherd  and a Collie. Actually she would hate another interloper – it was bad enough when the kitten arrived. Before lockdown I was busy.  I was arranging a wedding which of course didn’t happen. I was already starting to organise the annual Stand Up for London’s Air Ambulance Comedy Night and the second Tod Talk charity event.  I was working with  companies to organise regular donations for the Asylum Drop In that I volunteered with,  did my training with The Felix  Food Bank Project and I had a number of exciting travel trips arranged. Plus, I had my Gym and Bridge.  Now I need to find a purpose that works with my current lockdown status until they find a vaccine which will allow me to get back into the world. I know I am exceedingly fortunate, and I am mindful of those who have to cope with very difficult circumstances. And I am remembering a book a friend gave me a few years ago –  Viktor Frankl’s  Man’s Search for Meaning.  Not an easy read. But an important book. Frankl describes his daily experiences and observations of his life inside the concentration camp in Nazi Germany. It is where he developed his beliefs about how one can sustain a desire to live even under the most inhumane and desperate circumstances.   The inmates who had a sense of purpose were more likely to survive the degrading conditions of the camp. Obviously, my search for a sense of purpose in no way compares with the life these people had in Frankl’s concentration camp, but it does show the importance of finding meaningful goals when life get rough. victor Frankly So, people I am up for suggestions.  Open to all ideas. Message me.

“Let’s be careful out there”

Let’s put women in charge

As The Week dropped through my letterbox this morning, I was agog. It can’t be 7 days already. There must be some mistake. I have only just finished reading last week’s issue. What can I say I am a slow reader and The Week is my toilet companion. Sorry too much information. But honestly guys it is uncanny how the weeks are flying by and a bit scary especially as what the years behind me are now so much longer than those infront of me!

When you have bags of time to enjoy life this little hiatus doesn’t seem so bad but when time becomes finite one wants to cherish every moment. And cherish is not a word that would describe my current situation. It is not horrible in fact I could probably meander along quite happily like this if it wasn’t for the fact that I feel I am wasting precious time.

I am in limbo – albeit a comfortable limbo — but still a limbo. And when I see the morons crowding onto Bournemouth Beach on the hottest day on record in the middle of a pandemic, I see my days in limbo getting longer.

What is in the minds of these ‘I’m alright Jacks’ that propels them to drive hundreds of miles – and in some cases sit in long traffic jams – to sit on a crowded beach. Something which I would find abhorrent even in non-pandemic times. What part of the ‘stay safe’ message do these tens of thousands of people not get?

Clearly British Airways too has no intention of changing its planes to adhere to safety regulations. I just read a letter from a passenger who said he flew in seat 29F to Portugal and could see the entire plane crammed with people. It had 100% occupancy.

It just compounds my belief that the ‘I’m alright Jack’s’ out number the responsible ones. Unlike the citizens in some of the Nordic countries where a cohesive safety-first culture and a high level of mutual trust between citizens and authorities seems to have worked much better with changing behaviour. Maybe if we had a government that had behaved responsibly, that had not been two steps behind the virus at every point, ignored advice and the examples of its European neighbours, citizens just might have had more trust in them and behaved responsibly too. The government has been reckless and many of its citizens are now following suit.

I feel envious of those living in New Zealand with Jacinda Arlern, in Norway with Erna Solberg and Iceland with Katrin Jakobsdottir. They are not alone of the top 10 best-performing countries (in terms of testing and mortality), the leaders are women. In a crisis good leadership is vital and these women have proved that they make good leaders. Perhaps it has something to do with the hurdles they had to overcome to get where they are. Whatever, they are doing a damned good job.


So as you can see at the moment I feel a mixture of embarrassment disbelief and fury when I look at the numbers of deaths from COVID19 in our country. And because I have little faith in our government doing the right thing even now I have just been on line to order a supply of wipes, masks and sanitizers in readiness for the second wave.

I was amused though to read in The Times Tom Stoppard’s view on living with COVID19.

“It is a life I have always wanted social distancing without social disapproval. All those events you’d no longer had to dress up for, prepare for, all those encounters you no longer have to anticipate. Many of us are far more ambivalent about resuming ‘normal’ life than we like to acknowledge. We are capable of celebrating just a little when the dinner party host rings to disappoint at short notice.”

My late husband would have agreed with Stoppard and would have relished the peace and lack of social pressures. And there is a small part of me despite my misgivings about wasting my days – that when this is over which hopefully it will be – I will also pine for the days of silent streets and cancelled commitments.

“Let’s be careful out there”



Moonies and WOKE

I have come late to the party. Only just discovered WOKE.  My children and friends say I have been away with the  fairies since Tod died – maybe they are right. Maybe it is time to start connecting again.

Just done a quick poll with friends and kids – yes they all knew WOKE  I am embarrassed. Apparently WOKE   has been around for a long while – first came into circulation in the 1800s when it simply meant the state of not being asleep.  In the 1960’s it was used in the context of the Civil rights Movement. In 2017 the OED added the definition of woke to its dictionary but statistics from Google shows that searches for “woke meaning” have been increasing since January this year. OK so I am not that much behind then – just 6 months.

I like this word.  It means what it says, ‘being awake’. Awake to what is happening around us. The dictionary definition is ‘aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).’    But like everything it is open to abuse and has become a generic insult commonly used by the right to attack the left.

It recently hit the headlines when the actor Laurence Fox famously said on Question Time that he was no longer dating “woke” women.  His loss. I imagine ‘woke’ women wouldn’t want anything to do with him either.


I do feel a little ignorant admitting to you all that I must have been asleep to this word.  But at least I now know and can use it with confidence.

I wasn’t always so ill-informed I remember being savvy enough to escape the clutches of the Moonies in San Francisco.

I arrived in the City aged just 21 alone and having driven from the East coast in a Driveway Car.  These are new cars   produced on the east coast that need delivering to clients on the west coast. You had  4 to 5 days delivery time and  $50 dollars petrol money. Petrol was very cheap back then in America.

Standing in the bus station wondering where I could find a room I was approached by a girl, about my age. She offered me a flower saying how pretty I was.  I have always been a sucker for a bit of flattery. We got talking and before long I was sitting in an amazing converted synagogue with a bunch of chilled out people.

I found a letter I had written to my mother

Dear Mum – you will never guess where I am – in a synagogue (mum was religious) with some really lovely people. I feel so happy and comfortable. I have never met such beautiful people. They keep telling me how special I am and how thankful they all are that they have met me.  That it must have been my  God that had sent me to them in the Synagogue. But they said they aren’t into religion. They are just a kind of student group trying to make the world a better place.  The food is delicious. How lucky that I found them as I had nowhere to stay and they have said that I can stay as long as I want. 

But I didn’t stay after a week I suddenly started to feel uncomfortable and realised that all was not as it seemed.  When everyone was asleep, I left in the middle of the night. But I can see just how easy it would be to be lured into this environment.  But they got the wrong girl  I was not susceptible.  Despite my letter to Mum.  Just taken in for a few days. They can spot a vulnerable girl   — and it is  nearly always a girl –  the  ones that are lonely and empty inside even if they look perfect on the outside. They offer them  acceptance love – a ready made family.   But I didn’t need a family – just a bed for a few nights.

Lucky escape. Who knows I could have been married off in one of those mass Moonie Wedding ceremonies?


What a day for a Rock Festival. 50th Year Glasto anniversary. 

Just imagine if there was no COVID19– it’s easy if you try.  Imagine all the sunshine  without the wellies. Shame.  I am lucky that I do remember it in its early days just a few shoddy tents, load of hippies in flip flops, a pound to get in after you had written  yes really written a letter to Mr Eavis to get a tent spot at  Worthy Farm. 

See I am just an old hippy at heart but one that is now Wokeified.


“Let’s be careful out there”

Building blocks that deliver confidence

Feeling very fortunate.

Laying in the newly erected hammock at the bottom of the garden I was reading some of my mother’s letters to me when I was in Spain in 1970. Beautifully typed – always about 8 pages A4, with accounts of her daily life. Nothing that important but always hilarious except the one where she recounted Brian’s first marriage. Apparently, a neighbour had congratulated her on Brian’s marriage. “What marriage,” she exclaimed in an embarrassed horror. It seems she was the last to hear about this. This was the first of four marriages and where the daughter turned up 2 years after Brian died looking for her father. I didn’t even know he had a child by this marriage.


But it got me thinking about the importance of family and having a sturdy springboard as a starting block to one’s early life. And how lucky I was to have my parents who always supported me and made me feel secure and safe. Despite the bullying at school, by the time I left home at 16 I had bags of confidence – some might say too much confidence. But it stood me in good stead. With so few qualifications I have managed to achieve quite a lot in my life. My over confidence allowed me to convince others that I was capable – even if I wasn’t.

Take my job as a peripatetic childcare officer for Camden. I was 19 and it was my job to go into problem families to enable the children to stay at home rather than go into care. Ludicrous that they gave me this job. I had a warrant card which allowed me to enter premises, the authority to take children into care if I thought they were in danger, and responsibility for exceedingly messed up parents. I had 3 O levels, certificates in typing and shorthand and had worked as an au pair. And yet at the time I wasn’t daunted. In hindsight I just think wtf! But back then there was no health and safety and my boss was an alcoholic and I just got on with it – learning on my feet.

When I left to go to America, I naively asked my mother if she would take one of the children for a short holiday in Leicester to escape the deprivation. Big mistake – here’s when thinking on my feet wasn’t such a good idea. One day after I left the UK the mother, who had been threatening suicide the entire time I was working with her, did the deed. She would save up her tablets and then on a Friday drink a bottle of wine in the hope she wouldn’t wake up. Well it finally worked, and my mother was left with the 8-year-old girl whose mother had just died. She took it in her stride and no recriminations.

Because I had worked for a year with these families when I arrived in America – still only 20 I applied and got a job at a school for delinquent boys — Mayaro Ranch School – in Northern California. Set in the middle of nowhere the school housed teenage boys from the Bay area which other facilities had refused to take. It was a real baptism by fire.

None of this would happen nowadays but this was the early 70’s. So, could I do these things because of the unconditional love and  support that I received from my parents. I think so. It is interesting what makes us do what we do and why we do it. Why didn’t I follow my peer group in the small Jewish community in Leicester and marry have children and be quite satisfied? Did I take the hard or the easy route or the most adventurous route? Certainly there were many times when I though life would have been easier if I had stayed in Leicester. Leaving home at 16 took a lot of confidence from me and a good deal of trust from my parents. And now I look back, read our letters mine to mum and hers to me, hundreds of them, and think WOW that took some doing. A bit late to say thank you now.

Back to the saga of my killer cat. I just stumbled over a little dead baby bird that I had carefully put in a homemade nest in a tree after Mo had half killed it – I thought we had saved it. Clearly not. A recent figure from the Mammal Society estimates that cats in the UK catch up to 27 million birds each year, and 275 million prey items overall per year. But it seems bells on collars are not that effective. Various suggestions are offered from keeping them indoors – well that’s not going to happen. Having a large cage like aviary built in the garden – really, I don’t think so. Or taking the cat out for walks on a leach. That’s one reluctant cat


And while we are on the subject of cats on the same website which proferred this advice there was a section of what to do if charged by a Lion. Well you never know and always good to be prepared. It says:

“Being charged by a lion when you are on foot is extremely frightening.” You don’t say. “It is difficult to stop yourself from bolting, but that is likely to prompt an attack. A lion charge is usually accompanied by a deep growling sound that reverberates through your very core. It is vital to stand your ground, perhaps retreating very slowly, but to continue facing the lion while clapping your hands, shouting and waving your arms around to make yourself look bigger. All very well but somehow I just don’t see me standing still in front of a charging Lion. I know a bit random but then you try writing a blog every day when you are locked in and nothing happens. 

lion 1

“Let’s be careful out there”

Standing ground on social distancing, without upsetting friends

Boredom with COVID19 has set in and the easing of lockdown is a welcome antidote to the fear we have all been living with for the past few months. But  I  worry that we might be bored  but the virus is not bored.

bored graphicAnd rather than seeing the relaxation of some social distancing as  an opportunity to continue being vigilant while enjoying the opening up of our society, many people will just see this as ‘back to normal’. In fact if the parks and shops are anything to go by it looks like we are already back to normal.What I  really cannot comprehend is why wearing face masks is not compulsory for everyone when not outside. It is simple –  wear a mask to protect others. Most European countries are doing this and yet we  and our friends across the Atlantic are not. Mask wearing needs to be mandatory when you are in an indoor public place. It is no good advising and leaving it up to individuals to do the right thing. It doesn’t work. Too many selfish people around. And hey guys there are some really cool masks around at the moment. So, go and bloody well get a mask and wear it.

masks 1A return to some kind of normalcy is important – I get it I really do. We all have our own personal reaction to the virus, and we will be moving at different paces towards deciding the risk factors and how we structure our lives around this.”You don’t structure your life around crossing the road, a plane crash or heart attack,” remarked one friend who is a lot more relaxed about social distancing than I am. And this is one of the things I have been grappling with of late. I need to decide what kind of socializing I am comfortable with. I suppose it’s a bit like doing my own risk assessment. And then set my own level of tolerance for risk.

The difficulty arises when our friends and family start to open up faster than we feel comfortable with. I have to politely maintain my ‘safe’ grounds and the decisions that arise from this. It has not always gone down that well and I feel that some friends have interpreted my more careful approach to social distancing as an attack on their more relaxed approach.

“What are you going to do when the government change the 2-meter distance to 1 meter,” said one friend a little too accusingly.”

I am going to wait and see what happens over the next few weeks,” I replied.

It is my choice and I hope my friends will respect this. We all have different personalities, different tolerances for risk and different situations that alter our chances of spreading or contracting the virus and thus  determining how seriously it might affect us. And I respect that my way isn’t the same for everyone.  But undoubtedly as times goes on and Toby and Linda return to work, I will be more relaxed but, in the meantime, I hope it is not going to cause too many rifts.

Moving on –  I am thinking of getting a bell for Mo the cat. We have had just too many dead and half dead birds left as presents on the lounge carpet. On Saturday it was 2 in the morning when she deposited her latest gift. The mice are not quite so bad as they play dead and are quite easy to rescue. But the birds flap around, feathers flying everywhere with  painful squawking sounds. Breaks my heart. When she was just 3 months old, she dragged in through the cat flap a pigeon twice her size. Maybe I should have thought about this when I opted for a Maine Coon cat.

 So, if quarantine and travel bans are not lifted here’s an  idea for those travel starved adventure seekers.  A Taiwanese airport is giving competition winners the chance to relive the foreign travel experience during COVID19. Songshan airport in Taipei will let 90 people remind themselves what travelling is like by passing through immigration and boarding a plane before disembarking and returning home. Not a prize I would want to win.  The very thought of going through the process of  disembarking and dealing with immigration officials having had no holiday  would be  just too sadistic. immigration

“Let’s be careful out there”

Baldness, Coronavirus and Dishy Trudeau

Sorry boys but your inheritance has decreased – again. With the latest downpour came the realisation that we probably need a new roof. All this patching up just isn’t working. My next house is going to be a German flat pack, lots of wood and windows and a lifetime guarantee – well at least till the end of my life. Perhaps a nice piece of land somewhere near the sea inside a small town would be very nice. And the flat packs can be built from start to finish in a few weeks. Turn of the century Edwardian houses might be lovely but they just eat money.

Feeling very pleased with myself – roof aside. As I started the day with Pilates and have already cleaned the house, walked the dog and it is only midday. Clearly an improvement on the past week when getting out of bed before 10 am was an achievement. I mean really you wake up and then remember what is happening and there is just this what the fuck moment and you sink back into bed cause why not.  But in light of my new regime I am going to over come the ‘what the fuck’ and get to it.

 Today I read that Britain’s Coronavirus alert level has reduced from four to three meaning the danger of infections is believed to have lowered. Is it just me or do you think it is a coincidence that they have released this information just when Boris has commissioned a review into the two-metre social distancing rule? The Government is widely expected to relax the rule by July 4, when pubs and restaurants could reopen. Don’t get me wrong I can understand why government is bowing to pressure from business – I have one son who works in live music industry and another one who is a chef – both of these industries have been decimated. But it does get me to wonder just how much we are really being told about the situation. I suspect we will never know the true story about this virus. Just as we will  never know the true story  about anything. I think we are given about as much information as it is thought we can cope with. Quite frankly I don’t think I really want to know the true story about anything – it might just tip me over the top.

And while we are on the subject of COVID –  Groan – I know not that again. No wait!  I have some good news for men who aren’t suffering from baldness. Those that are can skip the next paragraph.

Apparently, it is not only BAME and old people and sick people and perhaps newborn babies, and anybody with an immune deficiency that are most at risk from COVID19 they have now found a new group — bald men. A study involving 122 men hospitalised with the disease in Madrid found that 79% had ‘male pattern baldness” much higher than the expected proportion for their age. Scientists think the link could shed some light on why men are worse affected by COVID19 than women. I wonder what the next thing to emerge will be. My luck it will be women who dye their hair.

It is not something that is likely to affect the dishy Canadian PM Justin Trudeau. Not being able to visit a barber his lush glossy hair has grown into a wonderful mane and apparently viewed by thousands of fawning admirers on twitter. It does help to have a bit of eye candy as a leader in the middle of a pandemic. 

And for my North American followers Happy Juneteenth. The day that commemorates June 19 1865 when news of the emancipation reached people in the deepest parts of the former Confederacy in Galveston, Texas. This was two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation in 1863 to abolish slavery which had little impact on Texas as there was no one there to enforce the abolition and Texan’s were certainly not going to do it themselves. How pissed must those slaves have been   —  on top of already being pissed because of their subjugation — when they found out that they had been freed two and half years earlier, but nobody had told them. Humanity has a lot to answer for. 

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people”Martin Luther King, Jr.


“Let’s be careful out there”

Non COVID19 medical procedures

Anyone would think we had a rave yesterday looking at the chaos in our kitchen. It’s like Miss Havisham’s table in Great Expectations minus the cobwebs. And there was just the 6 of us! Trying our best to social distance which we were doing very well in Toby’s newly designed space at the bottom of the garden until the heavens opened – really opened and we had to flee to the house with cat and dog and whatever we could carry food wise! Needless to say, social distancing became a little difficult as we huddled in the living room drenched sipping hot tea and trying to recover.

calm before the storm

Toby did a fantastic job of recreating this space. I love it. And we still have to put up the hammock.

So today I had to go for a chest Xray at our local hospital. Usually I dread going as the waiting times are horrendous. You can expect to wait at least 3 hours before seeing a doctor. However, thanks to COVID19 it was an entirely different experience. There was no one there. Quite eerie really felt like I was an extra in the sci fi movie Contagion.  But then this whole lock down  is surreal. The plus side  was being seen in 5 mins. Methinks this is definitely the time to get your non COVID19 medical needs met.  See I have just found another positive to this virus.

a & e

Unheard of an empty waiting room at the local community hospital

Interestingly because none of us know if we have had this wretched virus, we could have lingering after effects. Which is why they are checking if my breathlessness is because I might have had COVID — I was really sick back at the end of February or just that my Bronchiectasis getting a bit worse. Whatever it would be good to be able to walk up the stairs without sounding like an old woman. The little gadget I bought to measure my oxygen levels has given me an alarming high heart rate when I climb the stairs, but it quickly reduces to a healthy 70 once I am rest. I guess I just need to stay at rest a bit more!

Presumably they will find nothing amiss with my lungs. If this is the case, then WHO HAS STOLEN ALL MY ENERGY? For the first time in my life I have so much time to do all the things that I never had time to do before and yet I am too tired to do anything. I can quite easily while away the day, having achieved very little, and run out of time to do even the daily chores.

“What dinner time already, but I have just had my morning porridge.”

So how is that possible? Come on clever people out there explain why I am forever still trying to catch up when there is nothing to catch up to?

Apparently, it has a lot to do with routine and despite all my spouting early on in this blog about the importance of routine – I don’t have one. Remember I said that Joan Bakewell the veteran BBC Arts journalist talked about the importance of having and keeping to a routine and she even put 1-hour daily reading into her routine. Well she is absolutely right, and I bet she isn’t lolling around like a beached whale. So much for my lists, my Pilates, my Bridge, my meditation, my French and Spanish courses, EFL as a foreign Language, creative writing – I failed. But all is not lost as from next Monday I am going to start a new routine. Yes, I know “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today” but better to start after the weekend. Then I can break the routine at the weekend and enjoy some  delayed gratification.

Note to Roma: Stop with all the talking and start walking the walk.

And just in case you have the odd £9,995 laying around and you don’t know what to do with it and you happen to be a football or tennis fan you can practise in lockdown using the AstroTurf “Pro” Rebo wall. Apparently, Andy Murray uses one for coaching. I am saving my money for hopefully this time next year a gentle meander around the Greek Isles. I might not be good at routines, but I am forever an optimist.

“Lets be careful out there”

Riding The Harley

27 years ago my youngest son Toby entered this world. 2 years ago today Tod Norman, my partner for 35 years left this world. Two auspicious significant moments in my life.

Today we will celebrate Toby’s birthday with his brothers and remember their father.

It has been a week of remembering. June is a tough month.

I have learnt a lot about myself since Tod died. Some stuff is not flattering. And a shame that it could not have been learnt earlier. Hindsight is a waste what I needed was foresight.

No words today but enjoy this video. Tod loved his Harley and it was the only time that I think he felt truly free.

The password for the video is todnorman


“Let’s be careful out there”

Media Vacation

I am having a media vacation – to be more specific a news media vacation. Which is hard for a self-confessed news junkie. I realised,  watching the news broadcast of the police shooting of  another black man in Atlanta,  that it was enough.  I felt physically sick.

When I was self-isolating on my own for the first month I stayed away from the news as I needed to keep my mental health in check and the best way to do this was to focus on other stuff not COVID19 related. It is well known that the emotional content of films and television programs can affect one’s psychological health. And mine needed to be safeguarded. But over the past month my news addiction has resurfaced.

When Trump got elected, I was so outraged that I didn’t watch the news for weeks. I just couldn’t bear to see his gloating ugly face. The same with Brexit. And when Tod’s father had his first heart attack his doctor prescribed no tv news or newspapers because it was having a detrimental effect on his already damaged heart.

I remember  too  my mother  calling me on a daily basis anxious about world news “Have you heard about…. it is terrible and …… I am so upset… etc”  And I would reply “Mum stop watching the news”. So, I am now telling myself STOP WATCHING THE NEWS.

Which of course gives me time for other things and this morning it was yoga.  Focusing  on my down dog I was mindful that the leaders of the Greek Orthodox Church  have now formally  warned their followers against taking up yoga practice. Apparently, they say it is “completely incompatible” with the Christian faith.  They do not  consider it a physical exercise but more “a fundamental chapter of the Hindu religion.” That’s not going to go down well with my Greek yogi friends. It is such  a sign of insecurity when one group, sector or religion is so fearful of co-existing with those of different beliefs. I have never understood that one.  A bit more enlightenment  would not go amiss. I finished my Yoga with a few OM’s which I dedicated to the Greek Orthodox Church.


The highlight of the week arrived today – our weekly food and veg shop. It’s a bit sad really how excited we get as we open all the packages and wash the contents. “Oh, how lovely apricots, rhubarb, mushrooms and avocados,” we cooed as we washed everything just in case!  How our world has shrunk.


I have been buying from The Odd box Company – as  it’s  usp is that its products are surplus food and veg that cannot be sold to shops because they are the wrong shape or colour.  I hate waste so this  feels right.  It would also feel right if they provided some of this food to Food Banks – which they might already do.

When we were running our drop in for asylum seekers, I forged links with a number of companies to supply us with shoes and clothes.  They told me that I would be shocked if I could see what ends up in landfill.  Perfectly good items that might for example, have one hole for a trainer shoelace bigger than another hole, or a zip on a dress not perfectly symmetrical, or a colour slightly off the advertised shade.   When we come out of this lockdown this is going to be one of my projects. I will be policing landfills.

The bottom of the garden is almost finished but there is one aspect of this lovely Cotswold stone gravel that we hadn’t thought about. Mo has been inviting all her neighbourhood friends to check out the giant litter tray.


“Let’s be careful out there”