Sunday, 15 January 2017

Don't say it with flowers...

....say it with words. This came to me the other day, as I approach the 25th anniversary of my husband's death;  the realisation that "saying it with flowers" can be a cop out. Flowers are lovely, but they can also be used as an alternative to words people don't know how to say (I've done it myself).

When my husband died, we were inundated with flowers, and they were beautiful. But I can't remember who sent them. What I do remember is the brave people who came to our house, not knowing what state we were in (terrible), and listened, and hugged us and wept with us.

I remember in particular one couple I didn't really know well, and didn't especially count as friends. But they came straight away, and I remember how courageous and thoughtful I thought they were. Because it does take courage to confront someone else's tragedy; it is hard to know what to say. But say it anyway. That's what I've learnt. Say it with words.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Some useful information about bears

I found this just now while clearing out my old computer prior to getting a new one. I may have posted it before, but I think it bears (ha!) repeating. You might thank me one day.

Monday, 2 January 2017

My theory of the last chocolate biscuit

John and I were discussing the nature of selfishness ( as you do), and I realised something. The selfish person isn't the one who takes the last chocolate biscuit*, because no one takes the last chocolate biscuit. No. The really selfish person is the one who takes the last but one chocolate biscuit in the knowledge that since nobody will be bold enough to take the very last chocolate biscuit, this is, in effect, the last one. Thus the wily selfish person has done a selfish thing, but leaves without a stain on his character (but with a delicious chocolate biscuit), because what he's done is fine, isn't it? Meanwhile, the last chocolate biscuit remains in splendid isolation on its crummy plate, safe in the knowledge that no one will be greedy enough to eat it (at least, in public).

Well, that's my theory, anyway. Happy new year!

*This also applies to the last smoked salmon sandwich.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

RIP Lionel Blue

As you probably know, Rabbi Lionel Blue died yesterday. I loved this gentle, humble, funny man as he did his many "thoughts for the day" on BBC Radio 4. Do watch this clip if you have the time.

In the meantime, a very happy, peaceful Christmas to everyone reading this.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Horses (but not me) for courses

Yesterday, I received a phone call from Colin*. Colin works for the agency for which I volunteer, and he does a good job, but he wants me to go on a course. Another course. The same course I did three years ago. The course which ( as far as interest is concerned)  is equal to an afternoon of paint-drying-watching. Colin knows I don't need to go on this course, but it's his job to make sure I do. Poor Colin. He too has to go on courses. We all have to go on courses, don't we? All the time. Hands up anyone who's never had to go on a course?

Once again, I shall have to learn (among other things) about fired extinguishers; that there are four kinds, and you have to pick the right one for the right kind of fire.

Picture the scene, if you will. A burning building, panic, people to be evacuated, 999 to be dialled, and you (or in this case, me) thinking: now, let's see. What kind of fire was this? Oil? Cigarettes? Electrical? Ah, I've got it! Now let's go and fine the right coloured extinguisher ("no, I'm afraid I can't help you jump out of the window. I have to find the blue fire extinguisher"). It just wouldn't happen, would it? Not least because I've only ever seen a red one.

Then there is food hygiene. In vain do I whimper that in all the years I've been cooking, I've never poisoned anyone. That in this job I don't even  have any contact with food. Colin is insistent. As a last resort ( I can see him putting a red warning sticker by my name on his file) Colin suggests I might like meeting some of the other volunteers. Yes. I might. But I don't need to. If I want to meet a bunch of nice strangers, I can trot down the road to the library; even Sainsburys can be interesting.

Colin and I part on good terms, and he agrees that since my time isn't Up until April, he will let me off until then.

Anything can happen by the time April comes. Here's hoping.

*Not his real name

Thursday, 8 December 2016

What would you like for Christmas?

A gift, as seen in Gift Guides  or Gift Departments is, almost by definition, something nobody needs and few really want. Those tall bottles of vinegar with what look like small trees growing inside them;  every kind of smelly candle; cute calendars; deadful jokey novelties - in fact, all the things which are the last resort of the desperate shopper. You can spot them a mile away. I imagine even the charity shops dread their annual appearance.

In Saturday's Times, there was even a gift guide for pets. There was a doggy sweeter for £99.50 (I've never even spent that on a human sweater), a Santa's Little Helper doggy hat, catnip sushi get the picture.

But what would you like for Christmas? I'll start the ball rolling: I would like one of those pretty, long pendants my daughter wears, even if it doesn't look as good on me as it does on her. Oh, and the DVD of my youngest son's wedding (he got married in May).

Now it's your turn.