Monday, 21 September 2009

Apology and Explanation

I have a reader who is unimpressed by my progress on New Year’s Resolutions. I can’t say that I am very proud of myself either. I would like to report, though, that I have made some progress with the ‘paper’ which was threatening to take me over. And of course I have read! The problem lies in the fact that I have not reviewed as promised. I can only cite laziness. I have a habit of lying in bed in the early morning and going through the day in my head. That includes writing my blog, letters to the paper, conversations which I intend to have, ‘phoning friends with whom I have had no contact for far too long and occasionally decorating and extending the house. My problem is that by the time I get up I have that cosy feeling that I have done it all, so I just take a walk or do a bit of gardening. I feel somewhat humbled by the fact that my ‘old’ school and university friend Margaret Norris (aka Marg Tivey), has actually appeared in print with a slim volume of short stories. I have been meaning to ‘phone her about it……

This is the time of year when Christmas starts to creep up on you again. Displays in the shops and catalogues through the door are one thing but singing carols in September is quite another. Unfortunately that is one of the minus sides of belonging to a choir and needing to get in enough practice time. It is the same with Handbell Ringing as the focus of our activity is around ‘that time of year’. I used to put my foot down and refuse to play anything Christmasssy until after half-term. Amidst teasing on the subject, I admit to having given in on the basis that since I retired the seasons have become a bit blurry anyway. After all, there are lots of good thing about this time of year. We have picked blackberries and the apples are almost ready. There is that lovely autumny feeling in the air. There’s still time to snatch another little holiday. The classical concert and NFL seasons starts again. And there are still more than three months until Christmas.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

2009: so far, so good

Well, we’re a week into 2009, computer problems seem to be behind me at last, and I am really going to keep my blogging up this year. My other resolve is to keep on top of papers and magazines, getting rid of things at regular intervals, read or unread. Mmm….if I manage that one it will definitely be a first.

The cold snap continues, mention being made of similar cold winters such as 1947, which I don’t actually remember as I made my appearance into the world as the thaw set in. 1963 I do remember. I was doing mock ‘O’ levels at the time, in freezing conditions. I like to quote our headmistress, who told us, “Girls! You may have a hot water bottle or a Thermos, not both!” We were encouraged to be moderate in all things - a touch of Lady Bracknell there.

And the years that are quoted in relation to the economic crisis are 1973/4, 1980/1 and 1990. Looking back I realise that they made no impact on me whatsoever. One might put it down to ignorance, or to the optimism of (relative) youth, but the first date coincided with a decision to give up work and become a mother, the second with a feverish effort to move house and the last with extending the bungalow. Maybe the fact that there was nothing significant in the bank to worry about back then, made a difference.

So….back to the present. We did try not to sit around all Christmas, but the social programme sometimes makes it difficult to do other than a few ‘walks round the block’ or down to the village. The icy weather of ’09 has meant that it has been firm underfoot and we have enjoyed walks a little further afield. We had a lovely walk around Elvaston Castle and also managed the Long Walk at Kedleston. ‘Long’ is the National Trust’s description. It’s probably about 4 miles and with a mince pie and cuppa at the end, that made just the right sort of walk for us.

The first cinema trip of the year was on Monday night, to the new Quad Arts Centre in Derby Market Place, a very comfortable venue but a not so comfortable film. We saw “Summer” featuring Robert Carlyle, a film set in North Derbyshire around Bolsover. Lots of ‘language’ and plenty of food for thought.

I’m pleased to report that Santa Claus came up trumps with a good selection of books for me. I am inclined to gloat when I see enough reading material to keep me happy until the days start to lengthen. Details are as follows:
“Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks” The Essential ALAN COREN
“Deaf Sentence” by DAVID LODGE
“The World According to Bertie” and
“The Careful Use of Compliments” by ALEXANDER McCALL SMITH
A good start to the year I would say. Reviews in due course.