Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Almost back to normal

Glory me, at last. After days of struggling with my laptop, one day it worked, then it expired, then all was well again - finally, a kind and thoughtful friend took me to PC World,and explained the nature of my problems, and hey, a result!

An unbelievably polite and helpful young woman called Rachel took us under her wing, and in no time at all my sick laptop was whisked away - my Product Support Agreement, no less, was found to be in order, and the infuriating machine will either be repaired, or be replaced. The downside? 28 days! The upside? It will cost me nothing other than the monthly payments for the insurance. Cheap at the price.

I did have to spend money - I bought a tiny Netbook which was on sale, so I do have "wheels" for the next 28 days, and in future, I will have a back up in emergencies. Halleluia.

Thank heavens for friends - I can honestly say that the past two and a half years that I have spent on my own,though not exactly a bowl of cherries, has been a revelation. There are some very kind people out there, and I have never lacked help or support. Indeed, life has actually run far more smoothly than at any time during my long marriage. What a treat to ask someone for help,and for it to be freely given, instead of having to wait an age for my requests to be even acknowledged yet alone for any kind of help to be forthcoming.

It is now very late, and I am off to bed with a quiet sense of satisfaction that at long last my computer problems are sorted. As I lie waiting for sleep to descend on me, I shall quietly muse on what to write about in my first forays back into the blog world.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Que sera sera

I feel like a spy - maintaining radio silence in case the enemy is listening in to my clandestine broadcasts.

There is definitely some dark force at work preventing me going about my daily business. Now - in a rare moment of freedom - I have both internet access and broadband coverage. It is a strange feeling to be bereft of the chance to communicate when the mood dictates, to be at the mercy of modern communications technology, and its frequent failures whilst living in the depths of the countryside.

Well, we are half way through April, the third April living my solitary existence, and still no house sale in the offing, and no further on my journey to a new life that is hopefully waiting to embrace me.

It is exhausting, this business of always being ready for a possible viewing of my house. Cushions plumped, dog hair hoovered up and the dog beds hidden, also the bowl of biscuits in the bedroom, the cooker spotless, the sink sparkling. Phew!

To expand on my previous polemic about the young and their sense of entitlement, what is it that makes them decide to view houses way beyond their pockets and then to pretend that they wish to buy, only to retract almost immediately and fade away into the distance? It is s seriously unpleasant trait, and one that needs to be stamped out. Today I had a young woman who, amongst other criticisms, said that the house had no view! No, only two and a half acres, and an uninterrupted view of them to boot - and as the house lies in a lane, on the outskirts of a village, is unlikely therefore to have rolling hills upon to which to feast one's eyes. She also said there were a lot of alterations she would wish to make.

Unfortunately for her, a mutual friend, on hearing that this young woman had been to see my house, told me that there was absolutely no way that she could afford to buy it. So definitely no makeover of my house et al. So - here we go yet again.

Well, here I am, no further forward, but to be frank, the weather has been glorious, and I am able to enjoy yet another Spring here The wisteria outide the kitchen french windows is smelling magical in the late afternoon warmth, the cherry blossom positively bridal, big puffs of exquisite white blossom, more prolific than for many a year The grape hyacinths are the most intense blue, the grass a vivid lush green, the bees are buzzing round the blossom, and I am happy to be remaining in my much loved home for the time being. Que sera sera.

I am continuing to empty cupboards, drawers and shelves, how can a family accumulate so much, so many random possessions Today, I put out three bin liners for the monthly collection by the Salvation Army. There will be many more, as yet more sorting out and pruning takes place

In the past, when the Senior Daughter and I started the cleansing of the Augean stables, we used to sit for hours, reminiscing and remembering, but now, I just chuck everything on to piles, shove it into the bin liners for the designated charity, and off it goes. It is a strange feeling, this binning of a family's past life, at some stage everything must have meant something to one of us, but now is consigned to oblivion.

I remember when my mother died in Spain, the Senior Daughter and I flew out to sort out the apartment and my mother's possessions. It was very poignant - my mother relinquished her responsibility as a mother to me when I was tiny, and I was brought up by her parents, my mother flitting in and out of my life as she pleased. We sat on the floor of the apartment, and went through letters, photographs, treasured possessions, and I realised how little I knew about my mother. There were many photographs of her life before the Second World War, and afterwards when I was growing up away from her, none of them meant anything to me, so we reluctantly decided to destroy them rather than bring it all home to England. That was when I first realised how transient is life, one moment we are alive, and mean something to someone, the next, we are gone, and life continues on its way. A sobering thought.

So - I must plan my new life, and not look back - I must be thankful for the life I have lived so far, dwell on the positives, remember the good times, and hope, that when my life on earth draws to a close, that my treasured possessions will mean something to those loved ones I leave behind.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Mother and Daughter Day

The elusive internet - I am still suffering with my laptop etc, so - I am snatching a rare moment of connection to hurriedly put pen to paper.

It is obvious that what I need to do is to drive into Banbury to PC World and sort out the problem, but hey, the sun is shining, the birds are singing furiously, and I am lazy. My real problem is that for the past week I have been really busy, and am now surrounded by so many boring uncompleted piles of paperwork, spring cleaning, an overgrown garden, et al and I haven't the will or a clue where to start.

The Senior Daughter stole my thunder with regard to Mothering Sunday - but I will still reiterate that I had a lovely day, and at a time when I was feeling low again, it was so spoiling, and a day to remember.

I did squeak at her when she told me were to lunch at The Ivy - I was not wearing my Sunday best, and I had not washed my hair that morning because I had to give Maud and Billy a good walk before we left for London, and I did not have time. If I had been a little less disorganised, I would have washed my hair the night before.

It was a proper old-fashoned Mother and Daughter day. Writing this, I am mindful of India Knight's comments in her column in the Sunday Times, that it is not necessary for mothers and daughters to be one anothers' best friends. Quite right - but I like to think that we do have a good relationship, albeit an often explosive one, but I am proud of her, and I love being in her company, and yes, sometimes things do not always go according to plan!

It is such a special feeling to be taken out to a surprise lunch, and for the roles to be reversed, and for the Senior Daughter to be in charge.

We had a brilliant table, I sat on the banquette facing into the room, so was able to people-watch, which is one of my great delights. I ate scallops, and cod, and had a glass of champagne, yum-yum. At the table alongside us, sat the architypal mother and son combo; when I departed to find the Ladies Room, apparently the mother tried to encourage the son to speak to the Senior Daughter. A classic scenario - one that made our day.

Afterwards, we went into Zara, for a little gentle retail therapy. Over the past two and a half years, I have shed over two stone, and even though the pennies are in short supply, it is a thrill to be able to fit into clothes from such a shop. I bought a pair of cobalt blue trousers, and had to be restrained from buying a pair in bright orange. "Muv, too bright for someone of your age!"

As already reported, we then went to Bond Street to see the Dolce and Gabanna window styled by the Senior Daughter. Lots of photos were taken, and I really was immensely proud. I felt like stopping the passers-by and saying "This was done by my daughter, you know" but knew that I would be thoroughly told off.

A dog walk in Regent's Park followed, and then Maud, Billy and Muv piled into the car, and returned to the backwoods, thoroughly exhausted, and replete with food and fun after a wonderful day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mothering Sunday

Enfin! For the past eight days I have had the most appalling problems with my laptop and broadband coverage. It is like losing an arm - I have felt bereft - heaven only knows what the problem has been - script wiped unsaved, and the frustration - the frustration has nearly caused a heart attack.

I am now settled with Maud by my side, glass of wine to hand, laptop at last functioning, and Gold help me if everything goes south again.

I have had rather a jolly time since I last put pen to paper, so where to start? I shall commence backwards, does that make sense?

Yesterday was Mothering Sunday - and in the preceding week I wondered whether, finally, I would spend my first such festival by myself. After all, the senior and junior daughter lead their own lives in London, don't they? Muv is getting a bit long in the tooth, so she must not expect anything, must she? The week drew on, and nothing had been planned, so I just got on with life, maybe hoping just a teensy weensy bit that I would see one or other or both of the girls.

I was busy during the week, culminating with Friday lunchtime, when I met two girlfriends for lunch, and then was out during the evening as well. When I returned home finally, there was a yellow flicker on the handset, a message on the answerphone. I had missed the senior daughter, and when I rang back, she was unable to talk.

We finally spoke on Saturday morning, a nonchalant invitation to London on Sunday, bring the dogs, we would go out to lunch, and I could see her new flat and pop to Bond Street to see the window she, as Liberty London Girl, had styled for Dolce and Gabbana.

Well, dear readers, I had the best day, and my next post will be full of this wonderfully happy time Maud, Billy and I spent in London Town, on Mothering Sunday. Watch this space.