Thursday 29 September 2022

A poem called Departures...

...which is really all about Daughter!

A few posts ago I spoke about the many poetry online sites who have themed calls for submissions. I can usually find a poem in my poetry file that fits the brief. That was how I came to submit 'Departures' to 'Literary Mama' whose strap-line is 'Writing about the many faces of motherhood'. I wrote the poem several years ago when Daughter was living down South and would occasionally get the train home for a fleeting visit. It was always lovely to see her but waving her off at the station was by far the hardest part of the day. I've put a link to the poem at the bottom of this post.

During Covid Daughter decided to relocate closer to home. When her brothers asked her why, she folded her arms and sternly reminded them, 'Well, one of us has got to look after them both in their dotage!' We're not quite in our dotage yet, which is just as well because her plans to look after us haven't quite materialised yet... but that's ok because a newly purchased house does need a lot of DIY and Mr A is very good at DIY!

House-wise Daughter moved in the 'right direction' from the London area to the Midlands where property is cheaper. She went from owning a one-bedroomed cluster house with just a tiny front garden to a three-bedroomed semi-detached with a front and back garden. She says she's still pinching herself when she wanders round her garden, coffee mug in hand, admiring her plants, and I'm still pinching myself when we wander round the shops together and enjoy a coffee and chat of a weekend. And of course it's reassuring to know that she's just round the corner for when we actually do enter our dotage!

The poem may no longer be true but whenever I read it I'm reminded of those years when waving her off at the station never failed to make me cry. Here is the link: Departures

Saturday 10 September 2022

Charity Lunches are Back

For the first time since before Covid, I have been to a charity lunch. It was the Annual Ladies' Lunch organised by LOROS, who provide hospice care for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. A group of us usually go every year but there's been the inevitable two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

The event is held at the King Power Stadium, Leicester's rather grand football ground - they've come a long way since Filbert Street even if they are a bit low down in the charts right now. It was a chance to dress up and mingle and gaze at stalls full of items that I didn't want to buy and sit with two hundred other women, shouting above the noise of all the chattering and waiting for food to be served to each of us. Sounds less than glamorous when I put it like that but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wore a bright pink top with floaty flared sleeves - a nightmare in a public toilet but the sleeves survived the outing and so did I.

Two of the hospice nurses gave a brief talk before the lunch. Their speeches were thought-provoking, sad but also positive. They spoke about the way that they help seriously ill patients regain some quality of life. They stressed that they don't just provide end of life care.

I must admit I was dubious about the guest speaker. If we didn't already know who it was then there was a small clue as we all entered the hall.

It was Eddie the Eagle, our very own Olympic ski jumper. I wasn't sure how he would hold the attention of over two hundred women in a packed hall but hold our attention he did. The minute he stepped up to the microphone he won us over. What a character - warm and entertaining - and what a story of perseverance. He may have come 58th out of 58 competitors in the Olympic event but his is a story of achieving personal aims against all odds. I was inspired - though not to go ski-jumping I hasten to add!

So the event was a success but it was the weather that finally put a dampener on our spirits as we attempted to pile out of the building. The term 'raining stair rods' has never been more apt. It took the Football Club a good twenty minutes to get themselves organised and armed with huge umbrellas to escort us, two at a time, to our cars. What gentlemen - or were they just desperate to get us off the premises?

I know that lots of you have been doing things, going places, taking holidays but me and Mr A have still been restrained, thinking twice about doing anything or going anywhere. You can't be restrained for ever. It's just not healthy and it's just not living so well done to LOROS for coaxing me back into the wide world. I didn't realise how much I'd missed being real.


Friday 2 September 2022

Why I almost wielded a pickaxe - plus some good news

Yesterday I used an Uber taxi for the first time. Why have I never done it before? It was so easy. I had downloaded the app and put credit card details in a few months ago and I'd looked at it a few times but for some silly reason I never had the nerve to book one. However, yesterday I was visiting a friend in hospital and there were two reasons why I used an Uber. 

Reason One: Last week when I visited my friend I had to endure a 45 minute queue to get onto the hospital car park. 

Reason Two: (a more significant reason) I don't have a car at the moment. This is all because at the front of our house, next to the drive, there is a low wall with decorative stone edgings that stick out in unnecessary places. I don't need to tell the rest. I'd already backed into it once last month but that was a gentle tap. This time is was more of a wallop. I blame the searing sun which hindered my view through the rear car-camera. Whatever or whoever was to blame, this wallop needed attention. 

My car is in car-hospital and will cost over £500 for what is, I guess, cosmetic surgery. As for the wall, I informed Mr A that I was about to take a pickaxe to it and demolish the entire thing. There were a few forbidden words splattered within my threat and I don't actually think we have a pickaxe but it did the trick and within half an hour Mr A had removed the offending fancy stone edging. 

I decided not to get an Uber home. I caught a bus from the hospital into the town centre. This was the first time I'd used a bus since before Covid. It felt as if I'd been released from prison (not that I've ever been to prison but I do have quite a vivid imagination) and it was great. A three minute bus ride - free with my bus pass - and I was wandering through the city centre. 

The problem came when I tried to catch the bus home. I arrived at the Haymarket Bus Station only to find that two buses had been cancelled. Waiting in the queue it reminded me of the 45 minute wait to get onto the hospital car park last week. 

The Good News: Our recently published book, 'Sharing Our Heritage', has been awarded the David Hyman Prize by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain. We are, needless to say, feeling proud.