Monday, 30 November 2009

Cluck Cluck Cluck .....

An interesting week-end.

On Saturday I entertained a handful of friends, and amazingly, there were no arguments!

However, it may be said that I 'over hostessed' them. I love entertaining but I cluck.

I worry if they are warm enough, if they are comfortable enough. If the music is too loud or not loud enough etc etc. Is the soup too salty, not enough flavour and on and on and on.

On Sunday another gathering of lovely people.

They were wanting to take my friend out to lunch for his birthday. They came to my town and so immediately I felt personally responsible for everyone having a good time, that wherever we went it would be my fault if the surroundings, service or food were anything other than perfect. I fussed and flapped and worried and probably made everyone feel uncomfortabe with my over felicitations.

It was, however,lovely to see them all and I pray they forgive me for being such a mother hen!

The best thing about the week-end was a conversation with my youngest son.

My goodness he amazes me!

He is a teacher at a London college for 16 - 19 year olds. Recently there was an observation, pre-offsted, of the teaching standards and abilities at the college and my son achieved a grade one, which apparently is pretty good.

Also his proposal for the college to do a foundation degree , for the first time ever, in Sport Science, has been given the go ahead.

He also is very involved in the promotion of his college in relation to the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. He has actually been quoted on the official website !

Where does he get the energy for all of this, as well as his ordinary teaching I wonder?

He certainly doesn't get it from his mother!

I am so proud of him!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

I may delete this by morning

I don't want to look like Joe Brand - much as I love her...

How many times do I have to stand by with a friend while men chat her up and tell me how much they fancy her and to be told I look like Joe Brand and they not even think or care that I might not like to be told that? Then, when I am bored with standing there being ignored, I decide to go outside to have a fag, I get a text saying "come and rescue me, he won't take no for an answer" I am thinking, chance would be a fine thing that anyone would want any answer but no from me! But I go back in and rescue the 'damsel in distress' and she says "What kind of friend are you leaving me on my own with a weirdo like that? Please don't leave me." So I don't. Obviously, after a while, he comes over again ( a bit the worse for wear in the alcohol department) so she tries to hide behind me and I stand between them and he says " that is really weird" and I say (trying to make a joke of it) "well I am a bit weird." He says "I understand you trying to protect her but that is truly weird."

So now I am a weird Jo Brand look-a-like. Great!

Well this friend ( who was in the refuge with me, is now a bit freaked out and wants to go home) I understand this, but so much for my evening out which doesn't happen very often, so we leave. I haven't had a drink because I am driving ( she offered to put me up for the night and then couldn't at the last minute because family needed the sofa) so I take her home. ( We sit in the car for a while and she gets upset saying "why do only weirdos find her attractive") I commiserate thinking apart from, the as for mentioned weirdo person who told me I looked like Joe Brand, nobody had spoken to me all evening, anyway I hug her and then drive home.

Where I live I have a permit to park in only designated areas. When I arrive back all the spaces are taken. So I have to park in a car park and pay for a ticket to take me through until ten o'clock the next morning.

I go off to bed feeling pretty fed up and I know I have the electricity people coming the next day somewhere between 8.30am and 5 pm and also my landlord is coming in the morning to mend the door on the freezer compartment on my fridge. So I set my alarm and go to bed.

I am up at 7.30, to make sure I am dressed and breakfasted by 8.30 just in case. At 11 am I suddenly remember the car ( f-ck!) and low and behold I have a parking ticket. I wait in all day for the electricity people and they don't come. I can only assume they forgot or, more than likely, came when I was parking the f--king car.

I may look like Joe Brand but right now I do not have her sense of humour.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

'Ode to 'Bright Star' ...'

I went to see this film at lunch time today.

It was stunningly beautiful to watch (the lighting was perfect) and the performances of the two lovers, Keats (Ben Whishaw) and Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish), were totally believable and very accomplished.

Their conversations and letters about love were interwoven with Keats' own words and vision, and the cinematography matched the beauty of his poetry.

Jane Campions film was based on Andrew Motion's biography of Keats and I for one will be putting that on my Christmas list.

There isn't much story to tell that isn't already known and therefore I can't ruin the plot for anyone but if I have one criticism it is the ending when Keats goes off to Italy and dies. I could spoil the film by telling you why I felt the end was lacking so I will leave that for you to discover and to agree or disagree as you see fit.

This is a tiny criticism which, to my mind, unbalances the film a little. But apart from that my favourite poet's un-consumated love and tragically short life is beautifully represented in this film.

Friday, 6 November 2009

'The Lord of Misrule'

There are very few occasions when I find myself lost for words to describe something, but Lewes Bonfire night is one of those occasions. In my limited life experience I have never seen anything like it.

There is a carnival atmosphere, a strange primeval, latent pyromania. The sight of crosses burning and torches being carried by row upon row of marching people is reminiscent of a 'Witch hunt' or 'The Ku-Klux-Klan'. It is exciting, creepy, exhilarating, scary, and on one occasion I picked up a burning torch that had been thrown to the ground in a desire to be part of this fire crazed parade. I was quickly shouted at to 'PUT THAT DOWN' from one of the marchers who unbelievably seemed to have some kind of chaotic organisation in order to avoid accidents. He then marched on with his comrades lighting bangers and firecrackers and throwing them on the road to resemble the sounds of bombs, grenades and gun fire. Following each group of marchers were people pulling metal trolleys full of discarded burning torches. It was a truly amazing sight.

This parade started at about seven o'clock and finally finished about 2.30 am this morning.

There are six or seven different bonfire societies in Lewes and they all had their own firework displays, and these were absolutely spectacular. The sky was lit up with thousands of stars and comets in blue, gold, red, green and silver. Also the downs were vibrating with deafening booms like maroons.

Having written the above I am still at a loss for words to describe this event. But the best I can come up with is that for one night only Lewes is taken by a kind of 'Madness'.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Memories I can no longer share

I didn't have a good relationship with my dad. He was a disciplinarian of the Victorian kind and I a rebel of the 60's kind. But a good memory I do have is one reminiscent of this time of year.

When my children were small we lived in a tiny terrace cottage. We had one of those long thin gardens that apart from the odd low fence were open in regards to other gardens in the row of terraces. Each bonfire night, traditionally, we had a small bonfire at the end of our garden and the usual sparklers, fireworks, sausages and baked potatoes for our small family gathering.

On this particular occasion my dad was recovering from a heart attack and was off work. He arrived at about six in the evening with two little 'guys' that he had made for my two small sons. They were made out of old sacking and stuffed with old cloth and he had drawn faces on them and each was attached to a stick that they could hold. I was deeply touched by this gesture and the time and effort involved.

My youngest son was about a eighten months and my eldest was about three. Because of his ill health my dad stayed inside with my youngest son who was scared of the bangs. I remember him standing at the kitchen window with my son in his arms watching the fireworks through the glass and the pleasure and excitement that my boys had with my family that night.

My parents are both dead now and my sons were too young to remember and their dad and I divorced a long time ago.

As the years pass I realise that one of the saddest things about divorce is there is no-one to share those memories with. There is no-one there to say 'do you remember such and such that we did, do you remember that holiday or that Christmas'. I think it is probably sad for my boys too. There is no longer a shared family history. I try to keep the memories alive but it is not the same.

Those were some of the happiest times of my life and I feel bereft because I cannot share the memory of them with my sons and their father.