Tuesday 4 February 2014

For Delores!

For Delores! You have three to choose from . . . J


I read something yesterday about writing. It was quite strident and ran along the lines of, ‘So you want to be a writer? Stop blogging! Why waste your time on one or two when many more could be reading your novels?’

All well and good, I thought, but I’ll take the one or two over the none and be encouraged by their interest. It’s no good publishing a novel if no-one is going to read it.

However, I have published one* and intend to publish two or three more this year. Whoops! Brave words – must follow them up with action – that is, editing, proofreading and, in one case at least, finishing the first draft (and then editing, etc.) Action will be put to one side for the next week at least as I shall be looking after Frankie. I know, excuses, excuses . . .

(*The Sweets and the Bitters of Love’ is available on Kindle, £0.77 in UK, $1.15 in USA – free to borrow if you’re a Prime customer!)

Blogging and breaks and obstacles

I have noticed a number of bloggers taking breaks. Sometimes personal issues need to be resolved, sometimes inspiration has dried up, sometimes other matters are taking precedence. Is it seasonal, I wonder? Will everyone spring back to full strength and output once the year has worn on a little more?

This time last week Barry and I attended the funeral of someone we had known for more than forty years. Our friend’s daughters had tried very hard to make her funeral a celebration of her life.

The ceremony got off to a bad start. When the vicar pushed the button to start the music for the hymn nothing happened and he had to wander off to attend to it. We then attempted to sing, ‘All things bright and beautiful’ but there was no choir and our voices were too thin. The men managed to make a contribution but the women’s voices wavered and failed. Towards the end of the service the vicar, having got a couple of names and relationships wrong and failing badly in his attempts at making light, then told us we were going to do something very unusual. Time was running short so we were to leave the chapel after paying our respects and finish the service outside. Naturally, by the time the last of the mourners had joined the rest of the congregation, the ceremony was almost over and some of the intended parts had been omitted. Luckily the rain held off for that brief period.

Funerals are grisly affairs – everyone dreads them but everyone goes to them because they are for the living, not the dead. Fifteen years earlier we had attended the funeral of our friend’s husband, a man Barry had known since they were both sixteen. It was odd to see the same faces, fifteen years older, at last week’s funeral. Some people had barely changed. In fact, some looked better. Others were showing clearer signs of ageing – more lines, more/less weight, less mobility – but the saddest were those who were clearly struggling with memory loss, fumbling gallantly for words, a slightly desperate expression in their eyes. These lapses could not be passed off as absentmindedness.

Funerals are wonderful for concentrating the mind on one’s own mortality. I have not yet reached the stage of planning my own but my present inclination (and for some years past) is that my mortal remains should be disposed of without ceremony, decently, under a tree, perhaps, and my family go off somewhere congenial to celebrate with a crate of champagne. (Hurrah, she's gone at last . . . J)

Perhaps that’s unfair – perhaps we need to observe the rituals, whatever they may be, according to our beliefs or lack of them. Perhaps that’s the only way we can say our farewells and begin to absorb the fact of death. Whatever, and after all, I shall have no say in it after I’ve gone (though plenty before!!) I do not wish to have any singing from the congregation and if anyone says, ‘She was always there for us,’ I shall haunt them till their dying days.

I think I want to go out to this . . . It’s for the chorus, really;-)

Monday 3 February 2014

Our weekend walks

We had a couple of dry fine days at the weekend. On Saturday there was a cold wind gusting every now and then, causing me to hang on to my hat.

We saw three roe deer – the first we’ve seen for a few weeks. I guess they’ve been sheltering deeper in the forest, trying to avoid the relentless rain. Saturday’s sun enticed them into the open, along with a number of dog walkers, cyclists, runners and young children.
Sunday was beautiful, not as windy or as cold.

Bill and Beatrice Crow joined us.