Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Things I've learnt recently

1. The Heimlich manoeuvre really works. I tried it on my husband when a pill got stuck in his throat, and the pill just flew out. I can't wait to try it again!

2. People are either born tidy or they're not. I've tried and tried, but the trouble is, I just don't care enough. So it's silly to envy tidy people (which I do) because theoretically I should be able to change...

3. My horse hates cows that walk towards him. Two of us had a horrible cow experience last Monday, and we both nearly fell off.

4. You can get bored with grey knickers (I bought some because I thought that since they always end up grey, they might as well start off grey. Now I long for sparkling new white ones but I'm too mean to throw the grey ones away).

5. Looking after grandchildren who are at school all day give me time to write pointless blog posts. (I have tidied and made the beds, so I'm not a complete slob.)

6. Dijon mustard two years past its sell by date is not nice, but it is edible. Just.

7. Anthony Trollope really is my favourite author.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Do we need to scream more?

This week, I read of a young teenager who was severely  depressed. Anti-depressants hadn't worked, and in the end she went to a place in the country where people like her were treated. There, she was encouraged to go out into the nearby woods (safely) and scream her pain. It worked. She still takes medication, but she is much better for her screaming.

When my first husband died, the pain was so bad that I felt like screaming, but of course I didn't. Well we don't, do we? During the funeral, I wished we were of a culture where screaming was allowed; even encouraged. Where people throng round a funeral pyre and yell their anguish uninhibitedly. But we all wept quietly. Weeping quietly is acceptable; even expected.

Then, one evening, things came to a head. I think I'd had some trivial disagreement with one of the children about PE kit (or something equally unimportant). I got in the car, and drove a short distance down the road and up a country lane. And I screamed. I screamed and screamed and screamed. I screamed so much and so loudly that I was hoarse for a week afterwards, but it helped. I got some of that anguish out; I was able to vocalise how I felt. Not by the quiet weeping that I'd been doing for the last couple of weeks, but with a full-on explosion of pain.

It's odd that it's fine to scream at a pop concert (provided you're young enough) or in extreme danger, but not when assailed by one of the worse pains of all: bereavement. It's just not British.

It doesn't even feel quite right writing it here; after all, I am British. But I'm going to, anyway....

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Parrots with rhythm...

Here is something for a wet Sunday. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

If you have ever felt the death penalty is justified...

...do watch this gruelling BBC documentary. Made in the eighties, it follows a young man through the
last fourteen days of his life, leading up to his execution in the gas chamber of Mississippi's Death Row (he was later proved to be innocent). This film shows the sheer brutality of his execution, and the dreadful punishment it inflicted on him, his family and the officers around him who believed in his innocence. Please watch it if you can spare the time. I saw it when it came out, and have just watched it again, and I have rarely been so moved or so enraged by a documentary.

Monday, 21 May 2018

God is like the royal family...

...in that if you don't believe in/support him, you don't have to have anything to do with him. And yet people continue to knock them both.

As a supporter of both, I simply don't get it. I know at least two people who are so strongly atheist that they have to keep mentioning it. Why? They need to get over themselves. You don't believe in
God. I get it. Now let's talk about something else.

Ditto the royal family. As anti-royalist friends disappeared with their picnic lunch to find a "wedding free zone" on Saturday, muttering darkly about the expense etc.etc., we settled down to a glorious wedding fest with a neighbour and a bottle of Prosecco. And we loved every minute. The bride, that Dress, the groom, the horses, the wonderfully dignified and beautiful mother of the bride...it was all superb. Apparently our royal family cost us each fifty pence a year, and simple souls like us get so much pleasure from occasions such as that wedding. Anti royalists, you can switch off your sets and go on your picnics. Let the rest of us have our bit of Brexit free fun!

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

A book and a pair of royal blue knickers

I know I've been banging on about my books, but needs must. I'm terrible at publicity, but just in case anyone reading this (a) is interested and (b) hasn't read this book, it's out in its new edition on Thursday (cue trumpet voluntary).

A bit about the book*. It started off with leaves falling off a tree - no more - and ended up being partly autobiographical (absolutely not intended). I never plan (not good). I'm a seat of the pants writer. Sometimes it works; sometimes not. But I think this is my best novel, and I also think this is because it's partly written from my own experience. The mad mother in the novel is based on my eccentric mum, the bereavement in the middle is based on my own bereavement, and it was my sons who showed me how to blow up cowpats (thanks, boys). As for the royal blue knickers (one reviewer said this couldn't possibly be credible), those were mine.

At school we had to wear navy knickers for PE, but my mother bought me royal blue ones. To this day, I don't know where she found them, but wear them I had to, and I was mortified. I dreamed of navy knickers; of looking like everyone else. And in the end she bought me some sort of navy briefs, which were even worse (PE knickers had to be bloomer rather than brief). But I forgave her, for as I wrote in the dedication, she took me out of school to pick primroses. Who wouldn't love a mother who did that?

So - please buy my book. It's currently still only 99p on Kindle. You can do this by clicking on the image in the side bar. After all, what else can you buy for 99p?

*Previously the Birds, the Bees and Other Secrets

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Your perfect dinner party

John and I were discussing this last night - who would comprise your perfect dinner party?
I would have:

 Desmond Tutu (for his wonderful smile, and the fact that he summed up his life thus: "I have laughed and I have loved". Perfect.)

Dame Edna Everidge  (because I think he/she is one of the funniest people on this planet).

Judi Dench (just because she is wonderful).

David Nott (an amazing doctor who has spent much of his time working without pay in some of the worse war zones. That man is a saint).

Who would you have? Still living, if possible, and preferably people you haven't met.(Yes, I should be working, but I'm having a break.)