Wednesday, 28 August 2013

I did something nobody expected me to do...




There is something I have had the ability to do for eighteen months or more but have never done and many close friends probably thought I would never get round to giving it a try. I used to do it long ago in the past century but not in the way I can now, I quite surprised myself by spontaneously grabbing an unexpected opportunity and gave it a go.



I have had very little time to myself and away from the house maintenance and painting since we came back from our French trip in June and it has suddenly become even more hectic after a phone-call saying that the replacement windows are ready to go in ten days early! So much for forward planning! Today I hardly stopped until it got dark just after nine pm. and came in sweaty and tired but the exterior is now ready for their arrival on Thursday. My scaffold tower is built up the front of the building because the largest window frame for the attic could not pass up the narrow twisting stairway, girls should not really make these kinds of offers! Weather looks promising and we want the house sealed up before the weather changes and cools down or gets wet so when the call came while I was out Julie just said yes.



I had thought that with the fine weather the painting was well on schedule so we have been less frantic recently and had a few meals here with friends. At the end of one of these, Iain our close friend of more than thirty years stayed on after his wife and teenage daughter departed and the two of us headed upstairs together. I showed him into our spare bedroom and left him briefly to get ready and when I returned soon afterwards he was already partially undressed. I had though long and hard about who was the ideal candidate to be given something so special and Iain is about the nicest sweetest guy I know and he seemed keen. I thought it might take longer than it did but he is a guy and they can be quickly and easily satisfied. In some ways I am sad that it is gone at last and I can just get on with my new life. 

Not sure what his wife will be saying when her husband comes home changed for ever, not the perpetual tweedy guy she has known for twenty years but now stylishly casual in a smart and washable pale cream summer suit…

This year has seen the best crop of brambles ever, the fruit is hanging thick from the stems trained high and away from the walls on long bamboo canes. It has been such a successful system that the growth has filled up the spaces between the rows more than I thought possible, a large bowl full is picked every day and anyone living nearby is likely to get a load and the freezer is filling quickly, our daily portions are keeping us quite regular!

I took a rare day off this bank holiday Monday to spend it with someone who has known me the longest for the time I have been in Scotland. He was invited to join the cooking rota when I lived in a student flat which made sure that we had someone to cook a meal for every weekday and made sure that he ate better than we did when we were both living in bedsits on the western outskirts the year before. I remember the surprise when we first visited his parents in a town not far away and they thought he was bringing home a tall longhaired girlfriend for inspection! That was forty years ago now which is hard to believe. Malcolm has always found it hard to keep his hands off women which I have found somewhat embarrassing in the past when I used to help out when he had complicated advertising photo shots to do, otherwise we made an ideal team since I had always already done everything he wanted before he even thought about it usually while he was drinking coffee and chatting up the women! His wife has been away on a holiday on some far continent for weeks so when he was offered a day with some naked women’s flesh he took no persuading! Why I got myself into this I don’t know but avoiding experiences is something I have been good at so what the heck… We did it twice which is twice the number of times he thought I would do it! He was more than surprised I suggested doing it at all! Not sure that I will be in a rush to ever do it again, it was not as uncomfortable as I imagined it would be, we were a bit disorganised, wore all the wrong clothes for such a day, I still have concerns about letting someone else be in charge of my destiny and it took a while longer than I thought it would but we survived. Later on we drove out and collected his wife from her twenty hour journey home…



So there you have it, my virginity is finally gone and I will not be embarrassed and unsure of the procedure should I ever chose to do it again. 


The exhibition of fashion photographs was superb with plenty of bare flesh and my old persons free bus pass does work after all .

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Saturday, 24 August 2013

Last of the beans but first of the brambles and pink fir apples.







Two weeks since my last post. Not because there  has been nothing to write about, quite the contrary and just too busy to sit down and choose something and type. It has not helped that I have written a few emails to people and as they know they are often longer than my posts. As much as I have written here on the blog much more has been written on comments to other blogs and personal emails…

Here in Scotland we have a parliament with quite limited powers but the thing is small enough that they should just be able to get on with things so much quickly than the cumbersome English parliament which still controls most of the legislation. So why on earth are they still faffing about up here with their marriage equality bill when even the English have managed to get the legislation through and be rubber stamped by the Queen. Our lot of over paid crooks, (one was found guilty yesterday of physical abuse to a series of wives and step children and lying about it but still keeps job and £65,000 per year!), are still “consulting"…

Just over a week ago me and Julie were walking hand in hand through the same town where thirty years ago to the day we signed up to be together and look after each other probably until death and all that… In England we could now be legally two women married for thirty years but here we are married and two women though they still can’t make up their minds as to wether folk like us can get our paperwork sorted and live happily ever after. Is it little wonder that people are confused and often ask what our current status is!

At twenty five years we threw a large party but at thirty rather than give a big boost to the local economy we slipped away to have a restaurant lunch together. Thirty years ago there was not a fun-fair filling the streets where we normally park…



Much later in the week we did have a few friends round for what we had hoped would be a garden party, I spent last Friday, after watching a weather forecast, tidying a house fairly neglected since the painting work began. As predicted it rained though nobody seemed to care with bubbly wine and food on offer, music just happened when Elizabeth my garden help until recently brought her friend Joanna along and they commandeered the glass house attached to the house and played Scottish fiddle music. Eventually the sun broke through and chairs were carried out to take advantage then all carried back to the glasshouse when it restarted an hour or so later. For the first time ever we had everything cleaned up the same day as the party, just as well since we quickly called people to come and help eat the remaining food the next day.



Every day has been long and hard this summer and I have only been out of rags for the few social occasions otherwise working in the garden or on the painting job. There was one day when our friend Louise came to stay and that gave us an excuse to go off together for an afternoon on our bikes like a couple of kids, Julie has always hated bikes… It is always the same year after year, if the weather is perfect for a cycle ride it is also perfect for home maintenance or gardening, little cycling can be justified!



Just a wee bit tired.

.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Life and death...



I have not been to a funeral for a long time and two come at once…

Two people in that small group whom I have felt close to and from completely different generations. Twelve hours ago it was the service for my neighbour Douglas. He had no real faith but had always said that it was best to keep your options open! He would always claim C of E, church of England if still conscious on entering hospitals which is where you are most likely to be asked your faith though every decade you would be asked on the census, where Jedi Knight is apparently growing in popularity… Douglas had made arrangements with several to conduct his funeral over the years and was often more interested in getting someone he thought would put him over in a good light because they had got to know him. All that work was in vain as each died before himPeter who was a monk but living out in the community just across the road in the corner cottage became a great friend and had a wicked sense of humour at dinner parties should have been a good bet but got cancer and was soon gone. He took to the hospital visiting minister who sat with him through some nights of unconsciousness and they became friends through his recovery ten years ago and had promised that he would come out of retirement to do the job if necessary but he too dropped dead suddenly whilst Douglas sailed on. Betty thought that he had been joking when he had casually mentioned to our friend David that he would be perfect for the job since he was actually in the church of England though he had risen through the ranks to have long ago ceased sending folk off to the hereafter. 

It was fascinating seeing him perform though a little emotional sending off a god friend and neighbour, Douglas would have been delighted though,even when after putting his life story out as full, interesting and loved by so many he finished by telling how cantankerous he could be!  When he was first asked if he would officiate I told him that I expected to hear the word curmudgeonly somewhere and I has to smile when he did.

A good crowd turned out to see him off with sadness but few tears which is more than you could say for our trip over to the west of Scotland for the funeral of someone only twenty nine whom we had known and loved since a babe in arms. I estimated three hanky supply just in case though in my previous incarnation I had rarely had more than a moist eye even seeing off my parents. I soaked all three and could have done with at least one more and all about others were flowing even more… Never been to a catholic funeral before, never ending prayers and wersh hymns going on forever and ever and her brother who had flown back from his hospital job in Africa for this funeral was told that he had three minutes at the end! We spoke for about that long when I found him composing himself in an anteroom before the service, he thought we had come a long way for the service…

Christopher had spent his childhood fighting like cat and dog with his big sister who would meet stalemate in their arguments by tearing off the head and limbs from his action man figures, probably the only thing she ever did in anger, the priest had asked him how he had dealt with this and he calmly replied that he bided his time until the coast was clear and then farted into her pillow! Funny but neither mentioned this during the service. All his years in debating club which his sister had opened up to the younger pupils for his benefit followed by spending more time with the drama club than on his medical studies allowed him to put on a fabulous performance which at one moment would bring smiles followed by more tears but he held his back for twelve minutes before he started to choke on his final sentences. 

Even the eldest priest had tears in his eyes, there were four like a relay team…

Julie was not going to be traipsing round cemeteries  so we had turned down a chance for a ride in one of the line of stretch Jaguars and made our way towards refreshments and loos about a mile away, just as well as once gathered round the hole where was a sudden downpour much as Catriona would have written into one of he many novels though she would probably have had some thunder thrown in for good measure.

Hundreds turned up for the service and a large number turned up for a chat with tea / coffee and biscuits then a decent buffet once the soaked burial party returned. We were asked back to the house after the lunch where vocal cords were exercised until it started to get dark after nine thirty, time flies when you are more comfortable…

Recently there was a blog asking wether anyone had ever met another blogger and we can be scattered far and wide. Pat, one of the mourners had flown over from New York State just to be at the funeral of her blogging friend, sad that she had been forced to postpone the trip set up for earlier in the year, catriona last year had declared that they really had to meet face to face and booked a flight over and they had never even heard each others voices. We had a long conversation about the nature of life online.

Would anyone even take a short bus ride to meet up with me? Yes, I know I have met up with a few and we have made real life friendships following our meetings and that is a great joy. What is less joyful is the lack of online dialogue through commentary after blogs have been written. Without feedback it often feels like talking to yourself in the dark, somebody out there could be listening but you never know. Without the feedback each post appears almost at random, each an entity rather than held together by a thread of two way communication. As my post number stares back at me approaching three hundred I am wondering how much beyond that it will go without some commentary grist to work upon.

As a post note it has been a little ironic that out of this time of woe I have found an even higher degree of acceptance than I have ever felt before, on one occasion being welcomed into a group of women as one of the sisterhood gathering for comfort and support at a time of deep sadness. In my wildest dreams I never even hoped to feel like that...