Saturday, 15 December 2007

Unruly Santas

In the absence of photos of Oxford City while shopping yesterday, I have this one of frozen pansies instead. I would have liked to post a picture of a Father Christmas but, I was frightened off while on an escalator in a department store yesterday. I was minding my own business while peering over the moving handrail, gazing at some boxes of family games, thinking that they would make good joint presents for the girls... when a loud 'Ho, Ho, Ho' bellowed out behind me. I turned round quickly to be confronted by a huge red and white fur covered extended belly of a huge man with a fake white beard. He began talking to me about how exhausted he was after spending hours bouncing children on his knee and was in dire need of a coffee. I smiled and turned to face front as the stairs levelled out at ground level. He followed me. Still talking to me about his seasonal work. I said, "Well, never mind, you can soon have a rest until next December." To which he replied, "I can't not work until then... I have to make a living doing all sorts of odd jobs you know..." and added, "perhaps you'd like to make a contribution to a very tall, good looking chap?" He pulled down his elasticated beard to show his face and smiled at me. I turned sharply and walked quickly away and hid behind the display of family games, unnerved and uneasy. Was he mad?

I didn't take the photos I'd planned to, nor did I get the presents on my list, nor did I find a suitable top to wear for Christmas day. I did have some great dental work done which is the start of a four-month long treatment, which should take me nicely into April when hopefully I can get my leg fixed. All I need now is an injection of self-belief so that I can deal with unruly Santas when they crop up!

Bronx Boy Journal: Jerry

Bronx Boy Journal: Jerry

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Frozen cabbages and cockles

It was bitterly cold at 8 am this morning as I stood on the doorstep giving Pebble a friendly boot out. Ornamental cabbages looked as if they'd break into pieces of ice. Pebble ran round my legs and back indoors, then to his litter tray. I suppose it's too much to ask a kitten to dig a hole in the frozen soil?

The phone rang, "You have a Dental appointment at 8 am tomorrow morning". I negotiated 9 am instead, thinking of the freezing icy morning that awaits and the umpteen cat feeding and litter tray emptying jobs to do. So, I can't get my jumpy leg fixed yet, but at least I can get my teeth fixed soon; a cosmetic job, long awaited and needed, especially if I'm going to start looking around for an available, single, tall, strong, reasonably-looking, honest, caring, gentle man of similar age to me ... who am I trying to kid! I have as much chance as flying to the moon. When one doesn't have any friends in the area, no contacts, no social life and no clue how to play the dating game, the odds are that single is the status I shall remain in for the rest of my life; and seeing the domestic wranglings and discontent of some others, perhaps it's not a bad state to be in after all.

The fact that I'm thinking about dating is a good sign; I'm moving on and thinking about the future instead of the past. I'm thinking a lot of things lately; new business, new me... who knows?

There was the man from the wood yard who fancied me, but his dialect was so strong I couldn't understand what he was saying; I thought we were talking about a length of 4" by 4", but he started laughing and I got confused. My daughter says she thinks he is married; so I haven't been back. Then there was the man behind the fish counter at the Supermarket who tried to impress me with the size of his frozen cockles - again, the local dialect seemed to distort my understanding of what he was saying, so I took his cockles and haven't been back since. Then there was the man at the Gym who chatted me up in the Jacuzzi; he was quite nice, but then his wife joined us too! I don't think there are any men of the type I'm looking for.

Anyway, best not plan anything ... 'cos it all goes wrong when I do. Dreams shatter like frozen cabbages.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

A new Dawn

I was woken at 0530 this morning by both cats scrambling about on the bed; I made the mistake of moving my feet only to be pounced on by Pebble who has grown considerably, as too his teeth and claws. So I got up. A little later, I opened my bedroom blinds to see this gorgeous sky heralding the start of another day, another dawn.

Various phone calls followed from one or other daughters all checking on who is buying what present for whom; as if I know! I had other things on my mind; I was off to one of the Oxford hospitals for a chat with a consultant about my 'jumpy' leg, ie damaged nerve in my spine. He said he was stumped; didn't know what was causing it and didn't know what to do about it either except re-prescribe some pills I'd had two years' ago and which didn't make any difference. Or, he said I could have a jab in my left buttock that might work. So, armed with his bit of important paper I went to the Receptionist to book my injection. "The earliest appointment..." she hesitated and I wondered if I could fit it in before Christmas... "will be April"! A man sitting in the waiting room gasped, and asked if the injection was coming from the other side of the world. I left. What does it matter, I've waited four and a half years for one of the medical professionals to come up with a solution, and even a diagnosis, so what's a few more months? One doctor a couple of years' ago suggested "your left buttock is weak causing the main sciatic nerve to 'dip', so could I build the buttock muscle up with exercise"? It's very difficult to exercise just one buttock, but nevertheless that's what I've done - to no avail.

Meanwhile continue to wear jeans and trousers so as not to upset anyone in the vicinity who might glance across at my leg which appears to have a dozen worms writhing under the skin - not a sight for the faint-hearted. Or, perhaps I will wear some sheer tights and a cute little skirt this Christmas and just smile when anyone stares at my inhabited leg.

Ah, well, the new dawn always fills me with renewed hope and optimism, but by dusk I've faced reality again.

Monday, 10 December 2007

A cold frosty December night

I often look into other people's gardens as I pass by and wonder what their lives are like. Do they have the same worries and insecurities as me? Are they content in their idyllic surroundings? Or are there all sorts of family and domestic problems afoot?

Another weekend has gone by... a lovely lunch on Saturday that lasted five hours; luckily an 'all-day' pub with good food and a roaring log fire as the heavens opened outside - again. Nothing but rain, wind and more rain, for months... in fact, since last spring.

Then a Sunday of washing, ironing, collecting papers, making the last of the Christmas presents and sitting at the computer. Oh how I loath Sundays. Oh how I long to do something different on a Sunday. There is going to be a heavy frost tonight, so the two precious memorial roses of my lovely man and which contain his ashes, have been covered in fleece; the greenhouse lined with bubble-wrap, and the pots of perenial plants moved to a sheltered corner. Kindling wood gathered and indoors, as too the coal and logs ready for a good fire tonight.

I swept out the Garage after bringing out all the boxes and bags of Christmas decorations. I suppose that sometime in the next week I shall have to make the effort and decorate the house, although daughter number two and my granddaughter will be helping out when they come here for the festivities. I wondered today, if this is how it's going to be from now on... years of bringing out the decorations, years of putting them back again. Years of wondering if I am destined to always be on my own, remembering the past, remembering him. It doesn't matter what I plan or don't plan, I know from bitter experience that just when you think you have your life under control, or you have a plan, something unexpected turns up and makes you turn 90 degrees in another direction. So, I ask myself, why plan anything? Why not just let the spinners of destiny do their work and shunt us from pillar to post, or more annoyingly just let us exist in a kind of non-world of nothing. I think I must be a little morose at the moment - Christmas is always a bad time for me, and probably for millions of others. Even those who purport to be happy have a hard time at Christmas - again, I know from experience; all those relatives, all those family games and family 'treading on glass' moments. I've had a few of those in the distant past. But now, I hope to have a good Christmas again with my girls; which I know I will have.

Anyway, back to the mundane; Banjo has decided to hit out at Pebble again. He took a few tentative steps outside the back door and was attacked by Banjo who resents his intrusion on her territory of the garden, just when she'd more or less accepted that he'd taken over the house. Will they ever just get on with it? Will he ever pee outside?

As I shut the gate I wave to my neighbour, also a widow but much older than I, across the lane and wonder if she is content and looking forward to Christmas. What goes through her mind on a cold December frost-predicted night?