When my friend Petra and I left work last week, we saw red splotches all over her car - she asked me what sort of birds made that kind of poo?! I said I thought it couldn't possibly be birds, and it must have been some late-night reveller on their way home the night before, who'd thrown what looked exactly like pizza or pasta sauce at her car when they'd finished their take-away. However, when I scraped the ice off my car the next morning, I saw that I had the same splotches on my little Citroen. We work in a beautiful part of the High Weald, near a nature reserve, and pass Mick the warden and other friendly bird-watchers every day on our lunchtime walk, so I asked what sort of bird might have left us both this decorative gift. The answer is waxwings, who have flown south from Scandinavia, and who have been eating rather a lot of holly berries! My birdwatching friends tell me we should feel honoured!
Getting Southborough War Memorial out there took a concerted last push for most of 2009. At times it felt a bit like a python who had swallowed an extra large sheep - it pushed everything else out of the way! I'm trying to wean myself off the war history books (currently on last few pages of Doug Stanton's book about the fate of the crew of the USS Indianapolis - In Harm's Way - a wonderful, if harrowing, book) and my thoughts are turning back to poetry now. I've also picked up my MsLexia (a magazine for women who write - see www.mslexia.co.uk), which is always good reading. I'm a bit behind, but in April/May/June issue I read a cheering quote from the poet Gillian Allnutt, which made me laugh out loud - "ha!" - and which made me feel a lot better - she says "If you find you are not writing, try making bread, or weeding the garden. Wash clothes by hand. All these are useful. But really, don't take yourself too seriously. It might never come back and if it doesn't, so what?" Thanks Gillian, only I have to admit, I haven't got time for weeding the garden, washing by hand, or making bread either!!
I remember when I was a child how amazed I was by my father's stories of the cost of things in his younger life - a penny ha'penny for fish and chips, £400 for a house and so on (I was his 7th child, Dad was born in 1907) and in the 1980s I remember calculating, using Fruit Salad chews as a measure, that things cost roughly 20 times as much than they were in the mid 1960s. They say that the Mars Bar is used by some economists as a similar way of measuring the increase in the cost of living. Today, a lot things are relatively proportionally cheaper- I recall, for instance, that my mother bought me Lord of the Rings in paperback when I was 11 for 30 shillings (£1.50 in decimal), and you can get that on Amazon for £12.47. Colour TVs were massively expensive when they first appeared.
However, we went to the Odeon last night to see Robert Zemeckis' new 3D version of A Christmas Carol, which was great fun, but at a whopping £11.30 a ticket (3D specs thrown in), that is ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN AND A HALF times as expensive as a ticket (two bob) for the Regal, Cranbrook, in the late 1960s. Yep, forty years ago, okeydokey, but blimey charley - I must be getting old!
Lifelong bookworm, love writing too. Have been a theatrical agent and reflexologist among other things, attitude to life summed up by Walt Whitman's MIRACLES.