Wednesday 9 October 2019

Danger Might Lurk

A dear friend came back last week from a quick trip to Sicily and being both generous and well brought up had gifts for us all. Mine was a heavenly lemon-scented bar of soap which joined the stash in my underwear drawer but not before I noticed the warning on the back of its pretty label

            "Prodotto Cosmetico   Tenere  lontano della portata dei bambini. "

 Yes, that's right . Keep out of the reach of children. In case they melt?   Anyway no worries, my stash of gorgeous soap is only for me and children just get scrubbed with the ordinary stuff

 Autumn seems to be beginning,

There are hardly any big boats going past any more

The municipal flower beds are getting a bit scruffy

and it rains every day.

But there's an upside : stalls full of corn cobs and pumpkins at the Friday market, curly kale's back in the shops and lots of apples and pears. The house smells of cinnamon again… It's time to fatten myself up for Christmas...

Sunday 29 September 2019

Strenuous Exercise

Part One:22/9/2019
I've spent the last month exercising my muscles. Well, some of my muscles….

When I broke my little finger at the end of July,  they put a couple of metal threads/wires/screws ( depending on who's talking about them) in the knuckle to hold it all together and they are due to be removed on Tuesday. I was given an exercise programme of extensive finger wiggling and told to stick to it faithfully. It doesn't seem to have made any difference at all but we'll see when I have the check up. I don't think Fagin would be impressed.

 I'll just be happy if I can knit and do some plain sewing (makes me sound like a Victorian maid).  I shall be just as useless at jigsaws as ever and my pastry making was never prize winning anyway, but it would be nice not to  fumble when fishing my travel card out of my pocket.  I've been going to the Hand en Pols man, he's one of a team of specialised physiotherapists and, as his title implies, seems to spend all day making people wave and wiggle their fingers and, astonishingly, it doesn't seem to have driven him mad.

 Meanwhile I've been glued to Netflix, library books and all the news about Brexit. I'll probably be stunted and boss-eyed by Christmas. I did manage to get to Amsterdam last week to meet Younger Daughter for lunch and a trip to Foam,the photography museum and their wonderful exhibition of Bressai's photos of Paris by night. Foam museum  Her boyfriend then cooked a delicious supper for us before I fled back north. Every time I wonder whether to renew my Museum Card or year's train card I think of days like this and know how much I'd miss them  There's an exhibition of Childhood in the 19th Century in the Teyler museum in Haarlem that looks fascinating,  for instance ….

Sitting on the balcony this morning, enjoying the sun, I  was amused to hear a fragment of conversation as two women wandered past, "She's a strange shape now she's 83..."  The mind boggles. I do hope I'm not exercising the wrong muscles?

Part Two: 29/9/2019
Well, so much for last week. When I went to have the metalwork taken out of my finger, the nurse told me it had been left in too long and would have to wait to be taken out by another surgeon ... in two days time. By now she was calling it 'pins'. Local anaesthetic, twenty minutes of digging by two surgeons and two nurses, three stitches and an impressive bandage later I can finally celebrate. ( The two pins were each 3 1/2 centimetres long, as thick as darning needles and are now in a plastic pot on my kitchen window ledge ready to impress family and friends) .

And I'm due back at the Hand en Pols man on Thurday.  This dratted pinkie seems to have become my new hobby

Monday 26 August 2019

Just A Little Longer....

Received this overnight...
           "Bank Holiday Sunday at Safari Park, West Midlands. We all agreed that safari parks are over rated. Stuck in a long line of traffic with two fidgety boys in the back. Squinting to see the lions hiding in the bushes and trying not to run over the friendlier sheep and the African cows with giant car-scratching horns, or the rhino who wants to lean on our car."

 Rather Middle Daughter and family than me... it's really rather warm today, too … fine for hiding inside with the curtains drawn but not for running about being enthusiastic. Here, someone's having a birthday and we can hear a street organ playing round the corner with the Dutch version of Happy Birthday, followed by all the Abba hits. In the old days the organ would come round the houses and you'd hear it often … now it's not so common to get him specially, though he's often in town. Really, I suppose it's just that town's much more crowded. Must be a special birthday.

The summer's nearly over. The students are back and crowds of new teenagers are milling about in red, purple or green tee shirts.  Mind you, perhaps not the group who have taken over the top flat over the road….  they had a party last night. They were dancing on the roof around midnight …. and no it's not that sort of roof, it's rather pointy.

The ice cream shop's doing a roaring trade and the chip shop is opening again today. I've taken all the extra summer books back to the library and reached episode 49 of of the current telenovela but,  looking outside, its still a little to soon to start Autumn.  Next week, perhaps.

Tuesday 20 August 2019

It's Always Good To Embrace...

I must be the only person in the world without a message on my teeshirt. Not that I can't think of a few … something uncivil to Johnson, perhaps. Or something liberating for one minority or another if it could be done without sounding vaguely patronising.

This strikes me as a good idea, too, even though it sounds slightly odd … and I'm not sure about the hair-do...

 But I do like a good message

And I never get tired of a good old joke. 

Friday 9 August 2019

Despite The Finger...

Well yes, I'd broken the little finger on my left hand. A bit painful but only a minor annoyance, especially since, these days, plaster of paris stays on for only a few days. It's just that my timing was all wrong... within a few days a few of us were supposed to be sitting in a converted barn in Brabant, the other end of the country. The two youngest members of the family were really looking forward to this … not so much the tastefully converted barn as the fun park nearby, as was their youngest aunt who'd been promising them this for ages.

 The only snag was that it seemed that first my finger needed to be rearranged parallel to the others rather than at right angles, by a plastic surgeon. And, since a Brachial plexus anaesthetic was to be used, I needed someone to be with me. ( The limb in question goes so numb that there's a danger of dislocation. ) It all required some rushing about by YD, who managed to go from two days above Germany with her boyfriend in a helicopter to chaperoning me and my numb left side and filling my freezer with chili and curries in Friesland to installing everyone in the barn and whizzing round fairground rides, avoiding only the ones where one hangs upside down squeaking.

  The barn was lovely; there was even a piano, sadly out of tune to Smaller Grandson's disappointment.

 Endless cats, endless tractors, a lovely garden and a giant sofa. An extraordinary number of freshly laid eggs. A raucous magpie. Nonstop talking. Lots of apples. And an open shower in the middle of the giant communal bedroom upstairs.

There was also  a day in Den Bosch, where Elder Grandson fell in love with a dial Phone telephone box in the Design Museum … "Did you ever use one like this?  Gosh, really?!

 and everyone ate too much. Lots of lovely statues were seen, including a rather Harry Potterish giant golden dragon . Giant chocolate choux pastries filled with cream were carried back in pink striped boxes and various tiny dogs were admired, especially the ones in coats.

 The next day we all packed up rather sadly and they went off to a couple of days in Amsterdam, while I came back north to start on the prescribed finger exercises ( to be done seven times a day!) and to begin on the lentil and spinach curry.

Tuesday 23 July 2019

i must stop doing this

no, no capitals and only a photo if the wind blows in the right direction…

  i've done it again, fallen off my bike and broken something.  i mean, i don't do it every three months or so but this is the second time since i've been writing this blog
.attention seeking, perhaps.

 this time it really wasn't my fault or that of the other woman who fell off with me  , either.
we were waiting to cross a small side road when a car cut straight across in front of us, got out and checked his paintwork, bellowed  'sorry dames', got back in and drove off at speed , leaving the two of us and two bystanders stunned. i thought i was alright and actually rode off, but within half an hour i realised that , thanks to the new blood thinners,  my  left pinkie wasn't just a bit sore, it stuck out at a right angle and was dark, dark blue and sausage shaped. and a neighbour decided to drive me to the emergency dept. luckily reminding me , before we left, to take my ring off.

since there was a  procession of genuine emergencies all evening,  i finally insisted that she went home and i ended up hanging around till midnight, being bumped by sick children and 90 year-old grandmothers of fifteen. but eventually the fact that my pinkie looked as though it would explode led to about ten x-rays and a ginormous heaving and hauling by two nurses which has made it all look a bit better and feel more finger-like in an odd shaped plaster of paris. it does definitely feel a little better this evening but i'm to be checked out tomorrow by the pre-op people and will be put in a more permanent one on Friday.

 all because speedy gonzales took a corner far too fine. i hope he goes bald and bandy legged by the weekend.  and no, i didn't know the other woman…but i do hope she did better than me.

Sunday 14 July 2019

The Capsule Wardrobe

Do you remember when a key article every summer in every women's magazine was  " What To Pack For Your Holidays "? Then it just depended on whether you were headed to a week in Frinton, a fortnight in Torquay or a month in the Highlands. Whatever the destination, sunburn would probably occur and a rain hat might be carried by at least one of the party.

 Not everybody went to the sea-side of course. Maybe your granny lived in the country, maybe you had an aunty in Ireland but nearly everybody went somewhere. And , wherever you went, you took a heavy suitcase with you and there would be at least a couple of new things in it.

I was thinking of this on Friday as Younger Daughter and I wandered through the Amsterdam Uniclo on the way to my train. It's recently opened and I do like their clothes but I couldn't help feeling that, now I don't work, I really don't need to buy anything anymore. I've got a couple of warm coats and plenty of jumpers. I've still got dozens of T-shirts, since working with small children we'd be covered in sticky finger prints regularly. I've got plenty of jeans. I don't get dressed up any more.

 I'm obviously getting old.

 But really, more than anything else, we'd just spent an hour in the Historic Museum admiring a tiny collection of their Georgian and Victorian clothes. Only 75 items in all, each exquisite. And I found the Perfect Dress. If I could I would just wear this for ever more....... Isn't it heavenly?