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Showing posts from June, 2007

Lily, May, Rose, Lily

Thursday 21 June: By Any Other Name The business of choosing names was made simple in Mum’s family; the girls were named after flowers, the boys were named after kings and the dogs – one at a time, thankfully – were all called ‘Prince’. Unfortunately there were a couple of hiccups when my grandfather went to register Mum’s birth. Probably because he’d been celebrating in the ‘Blenheim’ beforehand. ‘Lily’ and ‘May’ turned into Lilian May and, just to add an extra flourish, he landed Mum with the moniker, Doris, as a first name. Well, I don’t know how Mum coped but I cringed for years every time I had to say what she was called. I mean, let’s face it; Doris has been in the deeply unfashionable drawer for so long it hasn’t even been revived by the young and trendy. Mum was the cook at a smart private school for years so we always got a flavour of what was in the ether. We were quite taken aback when a few Arthurs, my Dad’s name, trickled through but there was never a sniff of a Doris! Un

Closely Connected With Guilt

Thurs 15 June: Cut and Dyed Years of trying to make a little money go a long way have resulted in me developing a personal style which makes the term ‘low maintenance’ seem excessively demanding but as The Great Boat Debate rages I decide that it’s no more Mrs Nice Guy for me. I’m b*ggered if I’m going to be the one making all the sacrifices! Whilst I’d half thought I might wait until I’d heard about my book before getting my hair done it’s becoming clear that my prospective agent has left the country never to be seen again. So, since I’m also in danger of disappearing, not on a plane but under an unruly mane, I book myself in not just for a cut but for a colour as well. ‘I’ve put you down for foils,’ the receptionist tells me. ‘Eh?’ Oh whatever, I don’t care anymore. Anything’s better than the way I look now. I abrogate any responsibility and leave it all to Llinos, my lovely hairdresser, to transform me whilst I have a great time drinking tea and reading all the gossip magazines. Bl

A Few Local Difficulties

Thurs 7 June : About a Boat Oh dear, there’s tension in the air chez nous. In this lovely weather with flat calm seas a young-at-heart man’s thoughts turn to sailing. Tom thinks of sleepy havens where we drop the hook and sip a few glasses of something cold. I’ll be writing very productively in my notebook and he’ll be pulling up a couple of fresh mackerel for lunch. All very civilised (unless of course you happen to be unlucky enough to be one of the very rare mackerels Tom actually manages to catch). Unfortunately I have a few bad memories to contend with before I reach this stage such as huge rolling seas and, on one occasion, being so sick that I wet my knickers as well. Charming. There is also the very slight problem that our poor old wooden boat is laid up in a yard with serious injuries after being damaged in a severe storm. It’s a bit ironic really. We kept her at Fishguard harbour, which is considered very tricky in certain conditions, for years without a scratch but only a c

Stuck In A Moment

Tuesday 5 June: Leaving It Behind It’s all right everyone, you can look again. The grief fest is over for another year so it’s time to draw a line under that for now and try to move on. Except I’m feeling a bit stuck after an unexpected attack from one of my visitors this week. Now, gather round because I’m about to tell you a secret. Come right in, that’s it. Do you see that woman on the right? Yes her, piggy eyes and dodgy hair. Well, I’m afraid that’s not the real me. The thing is, if I posted a photo of what I actually looked like there’d be fly-buttons popping all over cyberspace and Suffolkmum would look, well frankly, rather ordinary. Hmn. I can see that you’re not convinced. Hang on a minute whilst I adjust my slinky pencil skirt and make myself comfortable. Ah, that’s better! Oh wait, I’ll just kick off my very high and very pointy stiletto shoes too. These buttons will have to be done-up even if it means that no one gets the dubious benefit of my fake leopard-skin push-up bra

Arthur Stovell, December 1930 to June 2005

My lovely Dad died two years ago today. Pancreatic cancer is a stealthy disease; by the time the symptoms appear it’s very difficult to treat. In Dad’s case it was a bright yellow ‘suntan’, severe jaundice of course, which took us to casualty. Dad bore his illness with immense courage and dignity. He always felt deeply sorry for anyone he perceived to be worse off than himself – usually manifested by him shaking his head sorrowfully and tutting, ‘Look at that poor bastard’ until the day I had to point out that he was the poor bastard since no one else in the ward was as ill as him. From the day of his diagnosis to his very last breath Dad led the way and showed me how to face the unimaginable. I consider myself very lucky and immensely privileged to have had him as a father. The following verses were written after that first trip to casualty when I drew some comfort from noticing the physical similarities between us. Familiar Landscape Since this new journey may be your last, we lau