Daffodils

Since getting a new computer and losing a lot of the stuff on my old one (because silly me didn’t have adequate back-ups), I’m still learning how to use this new one. I haven’t even figured out yet how to put pictures on my computer, let alone put them on my blog. This post should have a picture of daffodils, but you’ll have to imagine them.

I’ve been caught up in family matters lately, culminating in a bereavement. It was not unexpected and, in a way, not really too sad. The aunt who has died was in her nineties and she remained cheerful to the end and ‘ready’ and unafraid to go. My last memory of her will be of Ian and I singing ‘Doggy in the Window’ with her and she laughed each time we did the ‘Woof, woof’. She always loved a sing-song, and her sense of humour never left her. The day she died she complained of the taste of the mouth swabs and requested they be dipped in gin and tonic (the nurse complied). I think she died happy. She has requested daffodils for her funeral flowers ‘because they are bright and cheerful’.

I love daffodils, too. When I see them now I will remember a wonderful lady.

 

Not much to say

Okay, maybe I shouldn’t be writing a blog post when I’ve not much to say. But I’ve not posted for a while and my fingers are itching to touch the keyboard.

I’ve coughed and sneezed my way through Christmas. It seems tradition that I always get poorly at the time of Christmas and the New Year. I feel guilty mentioning this when many others have endured storms, floods, power cuts, no food… I know I should be counting my blessings.

The New Year is hurtling towards us. There’s something kinda scary and weird about the way time seems to have speeded up in the past ten years. I only have to blink, turn around or cough and the world has moved on far too quickly. I think I feel a short sci-fi story coming on.

Anyway, don’t expect much sense at the moment to emanate from my fevered brain. I just want to say…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

WordPress not working

This is just to let my blog readers know that I have not been able to post for the past few weeks. A problem suddenly arose whereby I could no longer access my blog, nor even look at any other WordPress websites and blogs. Apparently this is the same for many other WordPress users. I understand WordPress are looking into this but it seems no progress has yet been made. I am only able at present to write this because I am using someone else’s computer that hasn’t developed this problem.

Blog Anniversary

How does time go by so quickly? I’ve just found out that it was a year ago to this day when I wrote my first post for this blog. It seems like only yesterday I was trying to set it up and get going with it.

I feel I should have something important and special to say on this Anniversary Day. Unfortunately I don’t, and I’m struggling to find anything at all to say. The truth is I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself. For the past week or more, I’ve been feeling unwell with what my GP tells me is a virus infection which she thinks I picked up in New York. I’m feeling much better now but still have a troublesome rash. I didn’t really plan on using my blog for this kind of information which must be of interest to  no-one, but there you go.

Anyway, as they used to say in the olden days when the television packed in: ‘Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.’

Reasons to be Cheerful

Reasons to be cheerful? I can think of at least three.

1.  Look at the lovely daffodils in my garden. This year they survived a covering of snow. But now spring is here!

Daffodils

2.  I’ve passed my tenth speech, the one they call the Masterpiece at my speakers club, which means I qualify for the ASC Certificate of Achievement. I spoke about the suffragettes, particularly Leonora Cohen, a Leeds suffragette. I’ve been enjoying learning about this fascinating piece of history from a book called Rebel Girls by Jill Liddington, which is about Yorkshire suffragettes.Rebel-Girls (2)

3.  And last but not least… Ian was a Morrison’s scratch card winner. His prize? Four iced doughnuts!

DonutsWell, that’s a good reason to be cheerful, isn’t it? Not for Ian though. He’s a vegan and the doughnuts weren’t. So all he could do was enjoy the hole in the middle.

Doughnuts

Midnight Madness

cheesePassionately, hopefully, he opens the fridge door and looks inside. Yes, it’s still there. He lifts it out, caressing it lovingly. Carrying it as if it’s a crock of gold, he strides to the kitchen table. No stopping him now.

Slowly, he peels away the wrapper. Ever so carefully, not dropping a tiny bit, he places it on a plate. It lays there exposed. Waiting to be devoured.

He looks at his watch. “Not much time left now.”

The blade slides through, swiftly, easily. Cutting the seconds before his New Year’s Resolution comes into force.

“Now?” I ask.
“Not yet,” he says, salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs.
“You’ve only ten more minutes,” I remind him.

He pops a piece into his mouth. Holds it on his tongue. Savours the moment. Eyes closed in bliss.

Five more minutes.

He eats the next piece without sucking it first. And the next he eats quicker.

Two more minutes.

Quicker still.

One more minute.

Gobble. Gobble. Gobble.

Stop!

It’s done now. No turning back. No more white, crumbly Cheshire cheese. Never ever again. But it’s all right. He’ll soon stop hankering for it. He’ll find plenty of new scrumptious food and will never regret his decision. It’s a beginning, not an ending. A gaining, not a losing.

The dairy herds dance and sing to welcome the latest arrival. He wipes his lips on the stroke of midnight and says ‘hello’ to the world. A newly-born vegan.

 

Blogging Award

I’ve received this Very Inspiring Blogger award from Miriam of andewallscametumblindown.wordpress.com. Thanks, Miriam, for nominating me.

veryinspiringbloggerawardI’m supposed to list 7 things about me and choose 15 inspiring bloggers. However, the second part of the rules have been relaxed, meaning that after listing 7 things about myself I can just list a few of my favourite blogs. This makes it easier for me to participate. Any blogger on my list can, of course, feel free to accept the award if they want to. If not, it doesn’t matter (I still love your blog!).

  • So okay, here goes. 7 things about me.
  1. I love white chocolate xxx
  2. I love my husband xxx (This list is in no set order).
  3. I used to wear mini skirts the size of napkins.
  4. My birthday has just gone and I’m 21 x 3  (Up with Grey Power!)
  5. I’m rubbish at cooking (or just plain lazy).
  6. My belly button looks like it’s coming undone. (Eeeek!!!)
  7. I keep forgetting that I must NOT cut my fringe after drinking G & Ts.

And here’s my list of bloggers.

leedswellbeingweb.wordpress.com

Judithhaire.com

ruthninawelsh.com

writewritingwritten.blogspot.co.uk

janewenhamjones.wordpress.com

literascribe.blogspot.co.uk

theelephantinthewritingroom.blogspot.co.uk

If you’re not on the list, it doesn’t mean I don’t love your blog. It just means my brain cells have clocked off and gone to bed. Love you all. Goodnight.

Janus, the god of doors and gates

Happy New Year! Although I might (dare I admit it?) be a member of the Xmas ‘Bah! Humbug!’ brigade, I do like the feeling of new beginnings that the New Year brings.

coin_janus_225-212_sHow apt that our Roman ancestors named the first month of the year after Janus, their god of doors and gates. Doors and gates serve as both ways out and ways in. I love it that Janus has two faces, one looking forwards and one looking back. The beginning of January seems a good time for looking back at the last year, and forward to the next.

On a global level, the past year has, as always, brought devastating events and situations that we might only learn about through the media, but which will have affected those involved on a very deep and personal level. My own highs and lows are so small in comparison.

Looking back over the last year, among my personal highlights are winning a local speech contest and being the runner up at the area contest. Low points include my mother-in-law dying but, at 95, we could truly think of celebrating what had been her long and fruitful life.

Looking further back at previous years … but I wonder sometimes if I look back too much. Writing my memoir, The Dark Threads, made my troubled teens seem like only yesterday. Is writing cathartic? I’m not sure. I couldn’t stop looking back after its publication either. What was once a secret I tried to push away, has become something I’ve thought about, talked about, written about, chewed on, choked upon and spat out until I’m sick-sick-sick of the disturbing memories. I do think it’s important to face the demons of the past, to look them full in the face, to reflect, to try to understand and, hopefully, to learn from history and to change things for others if we can. It’s also important to look forward, to move on.

Perhaps my old childhood friend, Wendy, had the right idea. We’ll have been aged around nine when her mum took us on a train journey to Blackpool. Wendy pestered her mum to swap seats with her because, after a while, she decided she didn’t like travelling backwards. Her mum was settled in her seat by then and reluctant to move. But Wendy insisted. She said: ‘I want to see where I’m going to, not where I’m coming from’. Over the years I have often thought about those words when I’ve found myself bogged down by my past and in danger of getting stuck in it.

Thinking again about the face of Janus that looks back, I am reminded of how, when I was a child, like most children I was curious about things and I didn’t always do as I was told. Intrigued by the Bible story of Lot’s wife, I used to think, if I had been Lot’s wife, I, too, would probably have looked back, just as she did. Hey, be careful, Janus, or you might get stuck and end up as a pillar of salt.