Category Archives: Uncategorized

Under the Tuscan Sun

On turning the calendar card I was confronted with this –

 

The wording on the card reads –

“The Italian enthusiasm for cycling come to the fore every spring during the Giro d’Italia, a three-week-long road race across some of the peninsula’s most challenging terrain. Thrills, hills, and spills aside, two-wheeled vehicles are an integral part of Italian culture and an uplifting fixture of daily life”

I was immediately transported back to my brief sojourn in Florence in 2013. Can it really be six years ago?

On October 23, 2013, I recorded Day 16 in Florence and noted that the World Road Cycling Championship had just been raced in and around Florence. Cycling memorabilia was on display and for sale everywhere one looked. I succumbed and purchased two little battery operated bicycles with pedalling cyclists whizzing around the footpaths. If you are interested, click here for that post.

Oh, how I enjoyed my short time alone in that wonderful city. I did go back the following year with the Architect, my late love, but somehow just wandering wherever fancy took me, and on my own was really very special. Those few weeks will remain n my memory until my memory fades. I am so glad that I took the chance, made the decision and had the adventure.

Note – I thought after the gloom and despondency of the last two blogs, it was time to lighten things up. I hope I have done so.

 

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Sunday, 17 March 2019

“Never take life for granted.
Savour every sunrise because no one is promised tomorrow
or even the rest of today.”
Eleanor Brownn, American Speaker, writer, coach

We are still reeling from Friday’s horrific events; looking for a reason and finding none. It’s all anybody speaks about. If you meet someone on the street this is the first thing they mention. It’s seemingly overwhelming. How do we combat it?

We are always told that time heals’. But will it? Certainly not for those worshippers who were caught in the middle of it, and those who will never come home.

What could possibly cause someone to act in the way in which this perpetrator and his cohorts did on Friday? As a nation, we mourn with those affected and my reaction as an individual is to heap love and friendship on all I meet in the coming weeks and months. Their hatred will not overpower us.

And a reminder – Most people who died on Friday had plans for today.

 

End of today’s rant.

Christchurch, 15 March 2019

It’s Saturday morning here in New Zealand and we are waking up to the fact that our little corner of the world is no longer immune to terrorism and terrorist attacks.

As one, we reeled at the unfolding news yesterday and asked the question – how can this be. Yes, we had foolishly convinced ourselves that as we are so far away from what happens in the rest of the world, terrorists wouldn’t invade our peaceful and peace-loving country.

We commend the quick action of the police in arresting four people within hours of the shootings and we mourn for those forty-nine worshippers who lost their lives.

Today, as flags hang at half-mast on all public buildings in New Zealand, we realise that we are no longer protected by our distance from the rest of the world.

Because You Are Different …

I saw this post from Caterel this morning. It is very apt at present with all the wars and fights over religion, colour, ethnicity.

I was brought up in a home in a small enclave of Christians in a mostly Jewish neighbourhood. And in our home, Mother was from a Jewish family, Father was a Methodist and we three girls were brought up in the Church of England.
In our school, there were no people of a different colour and it wasn’t until the late 1950s when we had an influx of Jamaicans into Britain, that I saw people of a different colour.

To this day, it matters not to me what your religion is, your ethnicity or colour. Are you a good person is what matters to me.

catterel

I grew up in a white working-class area of the English Midlands in the middle of the twentieth century, and didn’t meet anyone who wasn’t white till I went to university in Liverpool in 1959. In my hall of residence, among others, there was a jolly Jamaican making delicious dishes in our shared kitchen, a sweet Chinese girl who played the piano like a professional, and a beautiful Indian girl with long hair down to her ankles. We also had a black Jamaican President of the Students’ Union in the early sixties. So my primary reaction was Wow! Awe and admiration! These were amazing, talented and exotic people, interesting to talk to and be with.

My first personal encounter with racism came a couple of years later in France, where my landlady was most upset because her niece was set on marrying an Algerian. I was studying in an international…

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Even More to Think About

Those of you who have followed my blog know that I was fortunate to be brought up in a a caring, loving family where domestic violence wasn’t even hinted at. In fact, it wasn’t until I started to post on my blog that I found so many of my followers/readers hadn’t been so lucky.

And in reading others’ blogs and the daily news reports I know that domestic violence is prevalent in our society, and to my mind, more of a threat than even terrorism.

Some years ago, visiting one of my mother’s many aunts, she told us of her daughter who was stabbed by her husband, and left to die, alone on the kitchen floor. So in some way, it does impinge on all of us.

Today I received the advance copy of Charlie Gallagher’s latest Book –

He Will Kill You.

I haven’t started to read it, but with Charlie’s agreement, I am posting his author’s note here.

“There is a strong theme of domestic violence throughout this book. Some scenes describe actions that are brutal, inexcusable and shocking, and may be harrowing or traumatic to read.

They are based on unequivocal fact. Two out of three murder victims in the UK are killed by an intimate partner. Most victims of domestic violence take years to seek help, if at all.

This book carries a message; if you recognise even a small part of your situation or yourself in these pages, any part of it, then know that you don’t have to suffer it; you don’t have to live it. You’re worth so much more.

Tell someone. Tell the police or a mate or one of the many domestic violence charities that can be found on the internet, or whoever you can.

Get yourself safe.”

Charlie is a serving, front-line police detective. He obviously, comes into contact with victims of domestic violence more often than most of us. He doesn’t appear to have a website but tells a little about himself – https://www.femalefirst.co.uk/books/charlie-gallagher-bodily-harm-1027718.html.

Apologies. I’m now told by Charlie that he has a website – http://www.writercharliegallagher.com.

The book – He Will Kill You will be published on March 15 and is currently available to preorder on Amazon .

Look out for my review in the next couple of days on my other site – https://booksandmorebooks2017.wordpress.com

 

Another Life Being Well Lived

Have you met Wendy Mitchell? Wendy says “On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with Young onset dementia. I may not have much of a short-term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget.” Wendy was only 62 with a busy full life ahead of her. Please go over to her site to read more about this fantastic woman.

On reading the Guest Post on the 28th I was immediately transported back to a few days early in 2016 when I didn’t know who or where I was. You may remember that post – A Few Days or the Rest of My Life. Fortunately, I have recovered completely; Wendy is still living that life.

wendy

 

This amazing woman has written a book. “Somebody I used to know” I’ve just received my copy and am looking forward to reading it.

Thank you, BethAnn Chiles, at Its Just Life for introducing Wendy to me.

 

 

And now, because it fits in so well with this subject (and if we are allowed to be proud of something we have written) may I once again post “My Name Is Jane, I Think”?

They’re calling me Jane
Is that who I am
I am perfectly sane
but I don’t know their plan.

I look in the mirror and what do I see
Someone who vaguely resembles me
But why am I here and why all the tears
They are beginning to scare me, what is there to fear?

 It seems like only yesterday I knew who I was and
Proud, strong and upright my life in my hands.
But now you tell me that isn’t so
Well if I am not me then where did I go?

 I remember a time when my children were small
But yesterday and last week I know not at all
Where did those days go and why am I here
I wish you could tell me why did they disappear?

This young woman calls me Mother but I don’t know her at all
She looks kind of familiar, lovely smile, soft hands and all
And the young boys with her they are calling me Gran
But again I don’t know them why are they taking my hand?

Perhaps I knew her when I too was young
When life was before me and everything was fun
And losing one’s self wasn’t even thought of then
So how could I have landed here – is this the end?

 I think I know you – are you a nurse
And where are you taking me, I know the way
Well I did before this curse
Came upon me and befuddled my mind
And now I feel that I have left me behind.

But I am still me though I can’t make you hear
I’m still your mother and hold you all dear
What’s that you say my name is Jane
And I really feel that I’m perfectly sane.

But they’re calling me Jane
Are they talking to me
Is that my name and
Who I used to be?

 

That’s all for today. Thank you all for reading and following me. and please check out Wendy Mitchell. A woman to be followed.

 

On Knowing Mary Oliver

 

“What misery to be afraid of death.
What wretchedness, to believe only in what can be proven.”

One of the comments I received on my post recording Mary Oliver’s death, was this one from Tokens of Companionship –

“This is a nice remembrance by a former student of hers:

https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2019/01/17/passing-mary-oliver-at-dawn/

How I wish I had known her other than through her writing. How lucky was this young woman to have been in one of her classes! How I envy her that!

 

“And that is just the point… how the world, moist and beautiful,
calls to each of us to make a new and serious response.
That’s the big question, the one the world throws at you every morning.
“Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?”

 

Mary Oliver

“maybe death
isn’t darkness, after all,
but so much light
wrapping itself around us–”
Mary Oliver 1935-2019

Those of you who have been following my ramblings these past years, know that Mary Oliver has been a favourite poet of mine for so long.

Many of her quotes grace the pages of my blog posts and may I say, that indeed she did add grace to the pages.

So rest in peace Mary after a life well lived. You will now never know the new readers who find your poems from whatever source, nor will you  ever know how much your words affected this elderly woman far away in New Zealand.

Read the New York Times obituary here.

And now, Goodbye Mary. May you rest in peace with your dearly beloved  Molly Malone Cook.

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”

Words

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”
― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets.

It’s been some time since I wrote on words, although any of you who have stuck with me know that I love words.

Every year, the Oxford Living Dictionary, among others, determines one word for the year. Their word for 2018 is Toxic.

We are told – “The adjective toxic is defined as ‘poisonous’ and first appeared in English in the mid-seventeenth century from the medieval Latin toxicus, meaning ‘poisoned’ or ‘imbued with poison’”. Read the whole article for more interesting facts about toxic and its uses.

Words

Some 1400 words were added to the dictionary in 2018. And so for your delectation and delight, here are some of them.;

  •  A nothingburger –  a person or thing of no importance, value, or substance, especially something which, contrary to expectations, turns out to be insignificant or unremarkable.
  • Glamping – It’s not just camping. It’s glamorous camping — and it usually means spending a night in the great outdoors with beds, electricity, and even indoor plumbing (so you’re not really outdoors at all)
  • Bingeable –Merriam-Webster defines this adjective as “having multiple episodes or parts that can be watched in rapid succession,”.
  • Goat – It stands for “greatest of all time,” and you’ll usually hear the acronym as a descriptor for LeBron James, Serena Williams, or Tom Brady.
  • Denonym – a proper noun used to denote the natives or inhabitants of a particular country, state, city, etc.
  • Mansplain — to explain something to a woman in a condescending way that assumes she has no knowledge about the topic.
  • Deglobalization” is the process of making something less global and more regional in nature, focus, impact, etc.; esp. the reversal or decline of globalization, or its effects.
  • Hangry is defined as bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger.

Did you see  Business Insider’s January 5 article on the word of the year? – “The American Dialect Society named “tender-age shelter” the 2018 “Word of the Year.”  Read more here 

But probably my favourite word for the year is again Trumpism – the philosophy and politics espoused by Donald Trump.

So another rambling post from this ageing mind in a sunny but very windy Wellington, NZ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Year Begins

“Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel,
stride down there and light the
bloody thing yourself.”
Sara Henderson – From Strength to Strength

Did you make resolutions on January 1?  I didn’t because I know that they won’t last even until the end of January. But I do like these resolutions from Bridget Jones Dairy.

“Resolution number one: Obviously will lose twenty pounds.
Number two:  Always put last night’s panties in the laundry basket.
Equally important will find a sensible boyfriend to go out with and not continue to form romantic attachments to any of the following:
alcoholics, workaholics, commitment phobic’s, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits or perverts. And especially will not fantasise about a particular person who embodies all these things”

I began to look back at the posts from January in past years. I started blogging in March 2011, so the first January was in 2012.  During that month I posted about reaching my first milestone of 100 followers. How excited I was on that day. I wrote about crop circles, Friday the thirteenth, the Madman who was actively engaged in compiling the Oxford English Dictionary. At that time I was posting a blog a day and so there are 31 posts in that January. All I need to know is probably my favourite post of that January.

By January 2013 I was no longer posting every day and so there are far fewer to choose from. In a meandering post, I took a trip down memory lane and wrote about growing up in the East End of London (again). And in that month I posed the question what would you do If Today Were Your Last?

January 2014 and I had just returned from my sojourn/adventure in Florence. That month saw only one post – The Kiwi Bach

January 2015  and I was enjoying life with my Late Love, The Architect and wrote about our peaceful corner of the world comparing it to the mayhem and confusion caused by terrorists in other parts of the world.

By January 2016, my life had changed again. Now The Architect was no longer alive and I was moving on alone. I like to think I was going from strength to strength following the path trod by Sara Henderson. Most of the month was taken up with my story about Sandy and the woman who claimed to be her daughter. Those posts were fun to write. Maybe, someday I’ll go back to them.

So to January 2017. By now I was used to living alone again and had completely recovered from my misadventure of the year before. How very glad I was to leave 2016 behind. I wrote about friendship and how much easier it is now to keep in touch through Skype, email and of course the blogosphere. And I compared myself to a vintage car. I too have to be maintained. I’m cleaned, polished and primped.  I have regular services from hairdressers, manicurists, dentists etc, So at my vast age I know I am vintage.

January 2018 found this aged mind taking off in a variety of directions. On the first, I looked back on the year that had just gone and looked ahead to the year about to start. I wrote about Talking into the Future with my friends Chris in Ontario and Joss in Cuenca and we marvelled at how lucky we are.

And that brings us to January 2019. Years have passed since I started this blogging journey/adventure. New friends have been made, some friends have died or moved on, Unfortunately, my Late Love was among those that died.  But what a great time I have had over these years. I have visited new places, have proved that you are never too old to dream another dream or set another goal and so I move into 2019 with a joyful, grateful heart. Best wishes to you all and thanks for being my friends.

Waterfall

“And as the water continues in its downhill rush over rocks
and the thoughts continue to tumble around in my brain
with no defined pattern or path,
they eventually find and settle into a safe place
and the void is suddenly filled
and my mind is active once again.”
Judith Baxter, survivor, blogger and friend