Corona Diaries


08.00, Thursday 19th March

Total cases Germany: 12,327

Total deaths: 28

Total recovered: 105

I am doing my utmost not to leave the house. There are two reasons for that. One, I do not want to help to spread the virus. Two,  I do not want my family or I to catch the virus especially as my husband, my daughter and I myself, all have asthma, so we’re considered high risk.

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I am one of those people who consumes news. That is, I read the news, a lot. I watched the virus from afar, in China, and I was horrified. And I felt trepidation. My children call me their dragon mother. They always proudly recant stories of me, puffing up my chest and blowing out my flames at any remotely dubious character who would even dare to glance in their direction.

So I started rabbiting on to my husband about that proper larder I had been planning on installing in the cellar for the last couple of years. He readily agreed that it wasn’t actually a bad idea.

Then the numbers in our almost neighbour Italy, suddenly shot up. And luckily, I was ahead of the curve.

It seems to me that Germans (at least in my area) haven’t quite got the concept of supermarkets. They still tend to go shopping most days. Whereas I’m a buy in bulk kind of lass. Partly because of my British heritage. Partly because I have four whole children. And going shopping with four whole children is a mammoth task. Two of my children are ‘blessed’ with ADHD, one of those is also sprinkled with autism. Growing up, our shopping trips meant once a month, a big, massive shop with two overflowing  trolleys and then, every now and then an attempt at nipping out to top up milk, bread and other fresh stuff. Even that became a bit too much at some point. So I started having our milk and yoghurt delivered and a fruit and veg pack for a while too. Those deliveries may well have saved my sanity.

As the years went by, kids started moving out, and I starting relaxing and going shopping alone more and more often. I love cooking, so I would really let the food inspire me.

But experience is experience. So before almost anyone else started ‘hamstering’ as the Germans call it. I was standing in line, once again with my two trolleys full to the brim of things we regularly eat and drink, but have a long shelf life (the shop assistant looked rather surprised). I had decided, before the shit hit the fan, I would get myself together and sort my larder out once and for all! Not only that, I would give my two grown up children who have moved out, but live on a pittance, a few bits and pieces to keep them going  too. Let me assure you: I am not greedy. I did not buy anything we would not normally use and I did it at a time when the shelves were full and everything was in abundance. And since then, I have only bought regular levels of shopping.

I am organized. I am one of those irritating mothers who has an itinerary planned for a holiday.

I’ve also realized that, any time I hit a crisis my reaction is to feed people. Be it a death, a storm, or a virus.

I think it’s how I take control.

Last Friday
They announced the schools were closing as of Tuesday. I was so glad. The numbers of ill people had been rising day after day. My asthmatic daughter was squashed like a sardine on the bus and I was fearful. So fearful, I had started losing sleep.

I just wanted to have her at home and put her in a cocoon. And stand guard over her.

I might be the dragon mother but this dubious character, who wants to attack my family is invisible.

Saturday
I cooked. Soups mainly. I thought,  if we get the virus we will need something healthy. I stayed up late until they all cooled down and then I put them in the new freezer.

On Saturday I also cried. A lot. I cried about my grown-up children. Who have stopped coming to visit because they are scared to infect us asthmatics. I cried about the people in Italy that I do not know. I cried about the people in Italy that I do know. I cried about my dad, who died, 40 years ago – the anniversary was the day before, on the 13th of March, – and when he died, he was the same age as I am now. Just 47. I cried about my mum and my step father who are not nice people and who want nothing at all to do with me, but I know there’s a high chance they would not survive this virus, should they get it. I cried about random acts of kindness. I cried about my daughter losing her job, her income and her premier the night before in the theatre. I cried about her happy bubble bursting and her insecurities awakening. I cried for friends who have diabetes, heart conditions, asthma and cancer. I cried for people I do not know and have never met. I cried for people who are alone and sad and scared and lonely. I cried with fear that I may never see my children have their own children and that I may never be able to be their dragon grandmother.

And then I dried my face and I started to cook.

I tried to plan how I could stay home as much as possible. How I could try and help people from inside my home. What could I offer? I wanted to go out and do my bit. It’s quite a hard realisation when it suddenly dawns on you, you can’t be the protector anymore. You have to be the protected.

So I called people. I wrote to people. I tried to see if everyone was OK. A lot of people were not OK.

Monday
Akasha had to go to school. I had cancelled work completely for the following five weeks. So we juggled things around and my husband drove her back and forth, so she at least didn’t have to be a sardine on a bus.

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Friends call. They offer to deliver food and help in anyway they can.

I start to see my invisible foe everywhere. Is he on the box the postman just delivered?

I read somewhere that the virus can live on cardboard for 24 hours. Is it fake news? So I take the box in. And leave it sitting for 24 hours before I open it. I wash my hands, saying the alphabet twice. Just to be sure. You may think that I am paranoid. But the very next day two postal workers in Italy die from the virus and unions are demanding the closure of postal services. The day after that our postman has gloves on.

There’s no cheery banter at the door. Not much more than a brief thanks in that sudden, momentary contact.

I feel sad. It’s hard to motivate myself to do anything. I am so tired because I have trouble sleeping. And I have a persistent cough that I know is just from a previous bad cold. But I want to be healthy, so if I get the virus, I can fight it with all my might.

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Tuesday
My mood improved dramatically. I felt more normal and motivated again. I realized that I probably went through a few stages and it seems to be happening to a lot of people around me.

The first stage is denial: I cannot believe this is happening. I cannot accept this. From my perception this is a longer stage for the young. When you’re young you feel invincible. And most likely, you haven’t experienced much death. Also, with this virus, the young don’t seem to be as badly affected as older people. At least, so far.

After that comes acceptance and with that often some kind of crisis. Maybe you feel angry, or can’t sleep, perhaps you cry a lot like I did, or start to be really anxious. This stage is horrible. But I think it’s important not to suppress it. Once you let it out you can get onto the next bit.

For me that’s definitely take control. Do something. This is a good stage. I don’t know however, what comes next.

We are all, suddenly, in the same boat. Young and old. Across the nations. Some of us are at earlier stages, others at later. This is our war and we need to fight it together.

I wish you all strength. I wish you all courage. I wish you all patience. Above all, I wish you all to feel the love from and give the love to one another.

Stay safe.

10.15, Thursday 19th March

Total cases Germany: 12,343(+16)

Total deaths: 28

Total recovered: 105

 

 

 

 

 

Oops, I keep doing it again!!


You’d think that I have great, big, massive size nine’s. Seriously. Because I always, always, always, always manage to put both of my enormous feet right into it.

And then I dig.

And dig.

And dig.

And the hole just gets bigger.

Honestly.

And I have no way, whatsoever, of climbing out of it. I just make it worse.

Another man, had bought me a tiny present. Just a little thing. A small token of appreciation for the friendship I’d offered him. Knowing how it is to be a foreigner in a strange land.
Who knows, perhaps his thoughtful gift was even meant for both of us.

I’d sensed a slight stiffening when I’d mentioned it, in my own blase way.
So I tried to make it better. Having experienced the rising of that old green monster myself, on many an occasion. Even when there was no actual cause.

So I explained that we’d been chatting on the internet. The stiffening stiffened further and the eyes narrowed.

So I said not to worry. That one relationship for me was quite enough.

Further stiffening.

Plenty. I declared. Plenty. One relationship is plenty. One relationship requires so much effort, I’d keel over with exhaustion if I had to be involved in two…

Board-like.

You’re the only boy for me! I tried, weakly.

Boy? His eyes attempted to remain serious.

I’m too forgetful nowadays… I wouldn’t manage it. I added, deep in thought… Can you imagine, all the presents? I’d have to give you both the same gifts all the time, so that I wouldn’t get confused…
And that wouldn’t be very personal, would it?

But what I really should have said is:

Husband – I love you because you are you and I am me,
And we fit together
just like a lock and its key.

I love you because you let me be
who I can be
even when
that’s someone
who’s slightly
freaky!

And I should tell you that:

You make my world
complete –
For another
I have no need!

Because you are my soul mate!
You are my friend!
And without you
My whole world would end.

Merry Chair Day


It depends what circles you move in. If it’s in my 13 year old daughter’s, then today is the stupendous, worked-hard-for-months, glorious, Dance Gala Day. If however, you happen to find yourself in my husband’s circle: today is Chair Day.

Though, to be fair, we had a prerun at Chair Day last week.

We rose and shone at 7am. I know. At the weekend. OK, OK, maybe shone is a little excessive, maybe it was more like, we flickered. But still… We hoovered and mopped, we removed the old chairs (luckily not to the recycling centre, given that we were, in actual fact, only anticipating the real Chair Day). We dismantled the ever-growing mountain of things from the table. And then, I even polished it! And the table oohed and aahed, and realised what a special day it really was, because under normal circumstances, it just gets a quick wipe.

And then we waited.

And waited.

After our slotted time had been and gone, we called the furniture shop and they kindly informed us about my husband’s little misunderstanding and that the seats were actually due to arrive next Saturday. As in, today.

We melted like old, used-up potato sacks, into the floor.

Then slowly (we were exhausted, we’d schlepped ourselves purposefully out of bed at 7am on a Saturday morning) dragged our once skinny arses into gear and returned the broken, fortunately-still-there chairs to their table and rammed them into place.

“What’s another week?” we queried.

After all, we’d waited almost a year.

Well, we’d argued for almost a year. I’d picked an amazing (fabulous, glorious, comfortable, splendid) green bench and my other half had picked a set of brown chairs. Every time the local furniture shop had a sale on, we rushed over, only to find ourselves with the exact same scenario: neither of us could budge from our favourites.

So, as all good married couples do, we decided, after a year of disagreements, that the only option was to compromise.

For one side of the table we purchased the bench and for the other the chairs.

Simple!

Our house is interesting.

♦♦♦♦

Good luck Miss 13 with your Dance Gala. I know you will nail it and dance beautifully. Just like I nailed the bench. Even Dad chose to sit on my bench before his chairs…

A proper pot-washer pops pots in the dish-washer


A few short weeks ago I treated myself: I purchased a brand spanking new pressure cooker.

I can happily tell you that it is dishwasher safe! That is, except for the rubber ring and the very clever detachable handle. I really like things that can go in the dishwasher as I am totally useless at washing up. I’m the one who misses bits. Even rather large bits. As the oldest in our household, I make the most of it and blame it on my aging eyes. And then, when there are things that can’t go in the dishwasher I encourage other household members to get involved. Scrub a pan. Lift a finger. That kind of thing.

So I got my shiny new pan and I started using it right away and as I did so I informed the household: detachable handle and rubber ring do not go into the dishwasher.

Last night, as usual, my husband went to bed before me.

I took my medicine, put the dishwasher on and shovelled washing into the washing machine. Then I headed to bed. Woke my husband up to tell him some important fact or other. Don’t worry, he always falls asleep straight afterwards, as is one of his many talents. I brushed my teeth and then climbed into bed. Where I contemplated how to get to sleep and came up with the only answer I could think of: I stalked estate agents for a bit.

I woke up this morning. Bright and early. Because, of course, it’s a Sunday. I tried to curl up and get back to sleep. Then I lay there for a moment or two envying my out for the count husband. Finally, I admitted defeat and shuffled out of our bedroom.

Downstairs I pottered for a bit. Then hovered over a few other estate agents’ websites. After that I contemplated what to purchase on Amazon. Was thrown by the sheer volume of choice and so did a puzzle instead.

My husband rose and shone. Being less of a potterer than me, he headed straight to the dishwasher. He’s a get the job done kind of a guy.

I heard him shout, “Somebody’s put the rubber ring from your pressure cooker into the dishwasher!”

“What?” I shrieked.

Panic rose within me.

Then he carried the lid through. “They didn’t even dismantle it from the lid. Look!” I heard the disdain in his voice. I blinked and looked at the pot. Rubbed my head. Thought.

“It was me,” I whispered. “It was me.”

As it turns out: luckily I hadn’t actually remembered to switch the dishwasher on…

My husband dismantled the ring. Offered to make me breakfast. To reorganise my world. Then I heard his voice again, probing from the kitchen:

Somebody’s put washing up liquid in the frying pan and just left it like that. On the cooker.”

I know exactly what that “Somebody” means.

It means: one of our teenagers has done this. I am not sure which one. But I am incredulous. I do not understand them. Why have they done this?

My mind races. I retrace my steps from last night. The dishwasher… A quick rub down of the tabletops… The washing up liquid… The pan… The water? The water? Nope. No water.

“I’m sorry. It was me.” I swallowed.

He looked at me. Kind face. Wide eyes. “You must have been tired, ” he said.

And I just thought, bloody hell, I’d better go and check out the state of the laundry room.

Tick tock says the clock but will there be a beep?


It is 2am! And there’s been a disaster! A calamity!

Sorry. I’ve swallowed a Mr Man book  been reading Mr Men books with my youngest students. Which 30, God no… 40 years on… seem rather more inappropriate. Though, just like me all those years ago, my students adore them.

But I digress.

It started off like this:

My husband abandoned me in the living room.

OK. OK. He left me  watching TV on the sofa. Where I started to nod, then drift… And the next thing I knew, I shot, bolt upright, only to discover that I was splattered with my own dribble.

I staggered through the living room, into the kitchen and desperately tried to remember exactly which medicine I should take and in which order. And not to take any of those correct medicines twice. Or even thrice. And not to take anyone else’s medicines by mistake. After all these years on the planet, I am finally getting used to myself and my own funny ways. I staggered and I blinked and I filled a glass with water. But in the time between the glass moving from the tap to my lips, a suicidal fruit fly had nose-dived into my water and appeared to be drowning.

I blinked a lot more. Yes. It was definitely a fruit fly. So, I calmly emptied the glass, rinsed and repeated. This time, luckily, without the invasion.

I wrote  a quick note for my son, said goodnight to a 20-something, fed the bewildered dog and pottered upstairs to the bathroom where I got into an argument with my own pubic hair. Don’t ask. It was all a bit icky.

Then I tried to find my bed in the dark.

I’ve eaten thousands and thousands of carrots in my lifetime. But they have done me absolutely no good. I have basically no night vision. Normally, I repeatedly switch my Fitbit on in an attempt to shine a light on the whereabouts of my bed (which helps somewhat, although I still stand on or walk into various items in the room, just less regularly. But that’s not so bad any more as my clever husband now wears earplugs to bed and so is rarely disturbed by my frequent shrieking/swearing/banging). But I had accidentally left my Fitbit charging in the car…

I clambered into bed and slapped around my bedside table in my nightly ‘alarm clock search’ routine. As usual, I knocked over the clock then picked it up again and pressed the snooze button down to see the time setting. Due to my acute night vision deficiency this is a repeated action. Without it, I can’t see the buttons or the changing numbers.  I altered my wake up time and I wanted to double-check I’d got it right. I’m a double-check kind of person. The simple fact is that I don’t trust my own brain.

I pushed on the snooze button and the snooze button stayed pushed. As in, it didn’t pop back up.

I pushed and I pushed and then, in desperation I attempted several pulls, with varying techniques. I even put the actual bedside light on to help me with my situation. But to no avail. The pushed button remained disconcertingly pushed.

Would the light remain on?

Would the battery wear out?

Would the alarm go off or would it believe, that in that very moment, when it had intended to beep, that I could possibly have simultaneously hit its snooze button?

And if that should be the case, would it live in some kind of limbo? Convinced that my finger hovered over its button?

Black Friday over by just a mere two hours and I had managed to incapacitate my alarm clock.

I looked over at my Mr Fix-It. Sleeping soundly. I didn’t dare to wake him with my conundrum.

Especially as he’d reminded me, before he went to bed, that I had woken him up at some ungodly hour, excitedly showing him a few early Black Friday deals.

Will I wake on time in the morning?

Should I brave the minus temperatures in my nightshirt and rescue my Fitbit from the car?

Will I ever get back to sleep?

Such a misfortune! What a calamity! A bloody disaster!

 

 

 

Old-ageing alert


Bloody cripes.

I just caught sight of myself in the mirror.

I have herpes. Twice. That means I look like I’m doing a pretty good  impression of the Joker.

My grey has finally rejected my hair dye completely and is stubbornly and proudly making a horrific appearance. As if that’s not bad enough, my thinning hair point blank refuses to be brushed into any even mildly orderly style. It can’t even decide if it wants to look greasy or dry. And I only just washed it.

WHOLE SHOPPING BAGS have attached themselves under my eyes and I look like I have hardly slept for a month. To be fair, I have been burning the candle at both ends somewhat, and suffering from only short bursts of sleep.

On the other hand, my skin looks as if it has been slept in for a whole week…

I’ve done the best I could with what I’m left with. I’ve attempted to yell, pull and drag my hair into submission. I’ve thrust my ever increasing girth into ‘nice clothes’. And I’ve slathered my face with that expensive cream my daughter bought me.

And I swore at the mirror!

Still, on the plus side, my husband still seems to approve.

Shhh! Don’t tell him he’s due a trip to the optician!

Elaborate Dreams


So I know that everybody has dreams.

But the one that I had last night, or should I really say, this morning was totally and utterly bizarre, to say the least.

Firstly, I think I was a man (I actually change gender continually in my dreams, I thought this was completely normal, until I casually dropped it into a conversation with my family and they gave me that mum-you-are-weird look) and I was running around with some kind of hectic, chaotic feeling (at this point I can still relate), I think I was either looking for someone or trying to rescue them, I’m not entirely sure now – it’s one of those hazy bits, there seemed to be a lot of adrenalin involved and a lot of rushing around various streets (some of which seemed remarkably similar to those that I had played in as a child) then suddenly, the man that I was looking for appeared, and you know, this is where I start to think this dream is particularly extraordinary, I think it was a James Bond actor. SERIOUSLY. But with a moustache. I can’t tell you which actual actor though, as in real life I suffer from an affliction called Facial Recognition Incompetence. And to be honest, I’m not convinced he normally has a moustache. Did any James Bond actor have a moustache? I digress…

So, Bond appeared (he wasn’t being Bond, he was just well, being himself, but from now on I will call him Bond anyway so that we know exactly who I am talking about), and some other person unexpectedly just happened to be beside me, he was apparently looking for Bond with me, I felt at this time he may have actually been helping me the whole time, but I just hadn’t noticed him before. Anyway: so we had Bond and we tried, wholeheartedly (and perhaps a little breathlessly) to usher him into a safe building nearby but then, just like that, he scooted off, at high speed, in an old sports car. Suddenly the man I was with, conjured a car out of thin air and we (I am aware that I was changing into a woman at this point) raced off in pursuit of Bond. But he was nowhere to be seen. We decided to separate and I got out of the car and explored the streets on foot.

I found myself in a hairdresser’s and there, sat upon the styling chair was Bond, gowned and waiting to have his haircut while reading a newspaper. Suddenly, I was the female hairdresser standing behind him but I didn’t feel like giving him a trim. Something was wrong with me and I made my excuses and scarpered out back, into another room.

Now to be honest, this is where things got really complicated. The man who had been helping me to search for Bond had reappeared and was now a doctor. I meanwhile, was trying to hide, somehow, between a white partition wall and a  roller blind. It wasn’t working well as the other sides were open to the elements and in truth, the blind was swinging about in some hopeless, swishy swashy way. I realised I was actually in a hospital or maybe some kind of treatment room somewhere. And I was no longer a random person of alternating gender looking for Bond. I was a nurse, or maybe even a doctor and I was hiding from a patient.

Suddenly, a yelling mother pushed her child in on a hospital bed. She was yelling about me. And why I’d buggered off instead of doing the operation.

Finally, it was all clear. I knew what was really wrong with me. I really, really needed to poo. But I couldn’t. I was constipated.

The doctor was awesome. He knew it without me saying a word. He handed me a teeny tiny suppository and a slightly bigger folded bag to poop in. He wanted to test my stool sample, apparently.

Now get this:

There was no toilet.

And in the same room, behind a small partition wall was my patient waiting agitatedly for his/her operation.

So I just crouched down, inserted my medical wonder and waited for a sec. Sure enough, wonders were worked and things started to move.

At that point I noticed the prying eyes, peeking around the roller blind or just standing there, openly at the side. The mother had calmed down. She seemed to have some consideration for my predicament (though not enough not to observe).

I started to unfold my bag, only to discover, it was not a white plastic bag, but a white paper party hat. You know, like the ones that burst out of a cracker at Christmas, just lacking the bold colours. The situation was impossible, that hat had no chance of retaining my deposit.

To be fair, I did wave at the doctor to inform him of my tricky predicament, and concerned, he noticed his mistake and rushed off, into the adjoining hairdressing room to counter that mistake, but alas, what with crouching and gravity and medical wonders…

Weirdly, the prying eyes pried on, unabashedly throughout the sordid affair and then the doctor pushed past and handed me the only thing he could find, a bright yellow shopping bag.

Let’s just say, I bagged a very heavy load and handed the bag right back to him.

Then I went off towards my patient to perform whatever treatment was expected of me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Star light, star bright, don’t be sick and sleep at night!


Birthday season is upon us again. My husband said to me this morning, at 00:01, as we were just dialling our daughter’s telephone number: “I can’t believe we are old enough to have a 22 year old daughter.”

I wish I could have answered that I don’t look old enough. Those were the days! But now, my middle age spread is, well, spreading. Fast! For a while, I’ve tried to convince myself that I would, one day, be a slip of a girl again. To be honest, for the last 21 years I’ve kept the dress I wore to my eldest daughter’s very first birthday party. I’m not just a hoarder. I did actually wear the dress. But the last couple of years, I had trouble waving about my arms and well just breathing. So I gave it to her last week. It was slightly too big. I may have stretched it… But I assured the slip of a girl that she would grow into it… One day.

So this is her 22nd Happy Birthday. I can tell you, some of them have been eventful. On one of them, we were singing ‘Happy Birthday’ and I was carrying the cake across the room to her, as I approached her to blow out her candles, she didn’t blow, she threw… Up. I’m not sure if it was the sight of all that carefully placed sugar or if it was just excitement. But the cake got tossed to the side and a bucket was grabbed. We videoed it and sent it to You’ve Been Framed. But they sent it right back again without giving us our £250. I was gutted to be honest. I laughed hysterically every time I played it back. But I guess it was far too graphic for public consumption on a family show.

On another birthday, we had the camcorder out again, my ex and I. He was standing there filming, as I ushered her into the room. We’d built up her present, a bike, and carefully covered it with sheets, so she could still unwrap it. Then presents and cards that had arrived in the post, were strategically placed around the big, exciting, surprise. We entered the room and my ex impulsively shouted, “Come and open your bike!!!!” And I almost killed him, right there, on the spot. Seriously. If you go and visit him, there is recorded evidence of it somewhere in his house…

From Birthday One, Joni loved a party. She loved the food, the dressing up, the food, the guests, the food, the games, the cake, being centre of attention and the presents. So the night before her Sweet Sixteenth she got really excited. She’d planned a massive party. Not only had she invited all of her friends, she’d also invited all of mine. We planned to barbeque on two barbeques simultaneously. The fridge was full of meat. I always make too much food because I am petrified of someone feeling hungry, so in actual fact, there was far too much meat for the masses of people she’d invited. Then, in the early hours of her 16th, she started to vomit. And vomit and vomit. In all fairness, she really did puke rings around herself. We did not film it. We cleaned rings and walls and carpets and changed bedsheets and disinfected buckets. And we mopped up tears. Then, from the exact moment politeness allowed, we starting telephoning each and every party guest to cancel. We did not know if she was infectious. We did not know if we were infectious. We did not know how long she would continue to be sick. These questions were answered promptly. As soon as all the calls were finished, she made a miraculous recovery. She was, what’s described in your medical encyclopedia as ‘right as rain’. Physically, that is. Mentally, she crumpled. Luckily, she had invited my friends. And some of them are fearless of bacteria. They are utterly convinced they will never get sick. Besides they know Joni. And they knew that she had recently been to Budapest, where she’d been so excited to be there, she’d thrown up all over her host’s carpet in the middle of her first night. We’d been chatting at the time on the phone. She’d wanted me to know that she’d arrived safely. That the exchange family were lovely. That everything was tickety-boo. Then suddenly she felt nauseous. The phone was chucked to one side, she leapt up and hurled. For several minutes, I listened helplessly to retching noises. She in Hungary, I in Germany. Together, yet so far apart. I couldn’t hold back her hair. I listened as someone else scrubbed up the mess and she cried and apologised. After many minutes, I found myself stuck with the conundrum: should I hang up the phone? Should I keep listening? Is this really supportive? Or is it just plain creepy? Would anyone ever remember I was still on the phone? Should I shout? Would kind words, after the fact, help anyone at all, anyway? Would I ever get any sleep? How long is long enough? Would my own British politeness mean, that I was never actually able to hang up the phone? Then I heard someone shuffling towards me. It was the hostess. Of course, being British, I apologised profoundly. Then they handed me to Joni. Who was tired and embarrassed, but apart from that, right back on track again.

Joni’s ability to empty her stomach at important life events has become a trademark. A party piece if you will.  Exams – check. Birthdays – check. Presentations – check. Travelling – check. First dates – check. I have forwarned her that on her wedding day, there will be no make-up and no dress until all of the sickness is out of the way. Beauticians and lady’s maids will be poised for the last minute dash to slop slap on her face and tug her wedding dress over her head, in an attempt to get her to the town hall on time.

Today, I hope, will be an exception. She celebrated into her birthday with a few college friends, and after a little sleep and a lot of classes we’ll descend upon her and take her out to dinner. I, for one, am really looking forward to it.

To my first born: Happy Birthday! Continue to be the bright and shining star that you are. Live, love and be happy. ❤

Dearest Dianne


When I started this blog I didn’t quite know what to expect. I guess that’s the same for everyone.

I guess, at first, I hoped that my family and perhaps a few friends would read it and like it. In the back of my mind, if I’m honest, I hoped that maybe a stranger or two might just read my posts and enjoy them. For me that felt like the ultimate success. I still remember the first ‘stranger’ commenting. I ran around the house shrieking, I was that excited.

Now I have over 1000 followers and I hardly know any of them personally. It’s a massive compliment.

But the hugest surprise of all is the new friendships that I’ve made. I can’t even begin to tell you how important you fellow bloggers have become to me. I think about you and your problems. You make me laugh out loud with your comments and your own posts. I learn from you. I rejoice at your achievements and feel sad when things go wrong in your lives.

Some of you have become Facebook buddies. Others like to email. A few of you have even sent me thoughtful gifts which have meant the world to me.

The blogosphere is a truly incredible world to be a part of. And I thank you all for every contribution.

One blogger who truly stood out for me was Dianne of Schmidleysscribblins.  She regularly commented on my blog and I loved to read hers. She was smart and funny. Passionate about plants, politics and her family.

Sadly on the 24th of March, 2017 Dianne passed away.

I am filled with great sadness. She was a truly awesome, inspirational lady. And I for one, will miss her greatly.

Today would have been her 75th birthday. Her daughter has written a beautiful eulogy for her and posted it on Dianne’s blog here.

Dianne inspired me with her love of her garden. Finally, I managed to grow some kind of lily. It only bloomed for a couple of days, but it did bloom!!

This is for you Dianne, with love.

“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.” – John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

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Quest for humour in my existence

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