Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Around the corner

You never know what's around the next corner. Burford is known as 'The Gateway to the Cotswolds'. It has a steep high street that is full of higglety-pigglety stone houses of varying shapes with saggy rooftops and curiousity shops. At the bottom of the High Street, roads take you to Bourton on the Water or to Stow on the Wold.
Around every corner and through little archways and alleys can be seen more old unique little houses in Cotswold Stone.

I arrived home to find an email from an old friend who will be in the area Saturday, so what better place to take her for lunch and a browse, than Burford? Now I have something to look forward to for the weekend. Thereafter, I shall be pounding the bustling streets of Oxford for presents for the family, taking my camera with me.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Fat Cat

It's official... Banjo is overweight and has to diet. I am supposed to be able to feel her ribs!! When she lies on her back, I can feel them, just as I can feel mine when I lay on my back!

The special and expensive biscuits that the Vet says I should dish out in small 35 gram portions once daily are doing the trick! Banjo detests them, so doesn't eat... and the weight is falling off her. Even Pebble doesn't like them.

Meanwhile, both cats are now socialising quite well; eating off the same tray and sleeping together under the sofa bed. So, I allowed them both to sleep on my bed last night; if only Pebble could understand that no-one else wants to run up and down the stairs at 3 am, nor do I want my shoulders washed or my hair eaten. And can I get him to go outside? No. For a wild cat, he prefers indoors. And today, Pebble was microchipped by a nice RSPCA man; so I haven't seen him since... he's gone to ground... under the sofa bed, while Banjo sits in the kitchen hoping for some decent food.

Monday, 3 December 2007

A Moment in Time

In the photo in front of me is a striking young woman with a flawless complexion, dark naturally curly hair piled high on her head and large limpid eyes that seem to look deep into your soul. She is wearing a lace blouse with high collar and brooch. She was my paternal grandmother whom I never met and who was never spoken about by my father. My face is of similar shape to hers. She looks kind and gentle.

Like a jig-saw puzzle, the family tree that has been constructed by daughter number three last year has put a name and dates to this photograph. Her name was Maud. She married my grandfather in 1909 at the age of twenty. They had two daughters and later, when aged 37 she gave birth to my father but sadly, died when he was just seven.

The only time my father spoke about his mother was to describe how desolate his life was when she died and that his father sat him on a stone bridge in South Wales; his legs were dangling over the side as his father gripped him hard while crying and saying 'sorry son'. My father knew he was about to be thrown over and into the torrent of fast flowing water below. He could still remember the feeling of absolute terror as he told me this story. Then, along the path, a woman was walking towards them. She began speaking to them, and my father was lifted off the bridge and away from what was to be his early death. Her name was Gladys and she became my grandmother whom I loved deeply.

When my father told me the story many, many years' ago, I could not understand why anyone would want to kill their own son and themselves. Now, having lost someone I loved more than anything in the world, I am there, in my grandfather's head and heart, feeling the desolation and loss intensely, knowing exactly why he stood on the bridge.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Bleak weekends

Why do I dislike weekends and Mondays when I like Fridays? Is it because Friday heralds the optimists' view that anything could happen at weekends? Saturday mornings are okay, but by Saturday night I'm already down at mouth... Sunday I think I might lie in, but new kitten and a cat with crossed legs won't allow it. The weather this weekend is stormy, wet, windy and bleak - so no outdoor work. Nothing on the TV to get excited about; I can't stand The X Factor and don't much like Football.

The Gym was busy this morning as I pounded on the treadmill; did a few weight-lifting things and had a short swim in the pool. Off to do some shopping and back in the windstorm to home. Am I missing out on something else to do at weekends? Instead I do some research on the web and have playtime with the cats; wow, I really know how to live at the weekends. This is the lull before the storm of Christmas and the miriad of things to do, make, cook and buy; and so I should be grateful of this quiet time.

We used to love our weekends together; always out and about, or having dinner parties with good friends. We would go out for a drive on Sundays and have one or other of my daughters round for lunch. We would watch a DVD, cuddle up and maybe iron a shirt for the next day.

All that has changed. I'm still little Miss No-Mates despite living here for two and a half years and despite trying to make friends at the Gym. So no friends to invite round. No-one to go out and about with. No-one to go to the Pub or Wine Bar with. Just as well I have the Cats to talk to... pity they can't give their opinion on the Labour Party's cash donor scandal, or the school-teacher being sentenced in Khartoum.

Thank you daughters for keeping me sane and letting me visit, phone and shop with you despite your own busy lives.

One day I might really look forward to weekends again.