Tuesday 28 June 2011


Sorry folks, but steam is coming out of my ears.

My provider is AOL and I have not been happy with them for some time, in fact, as soon as my contract with them is up I shall be switching PDQ. The last time Sazzie was here she tried to get us the whole package from Sky, I think [I know...but as long as I can remember the REALLY important things...] but AOL said no, the penalty for breaking the contract would be quite a lot, so she fixed our Sky package and we decided to wait, till September I think [she is down in four weeks so I think we might cut our losses then].

For the past few days, after logging on to AOL for my mail - the only thing I use it for now since Sazzie fixed me up with a Google thingey - it has been presenting me with a blank box each time I try to log off. It is the usual box with 'Are you sure you want to log off?' at the top, but the 'close' button is not there. Aware of my predilection for tying to solve my own problems with disastrous results I went on to what I believed to be AOL's problem solving website. Typed into the box provided that 'you are showing me a log off box which is blank and I am having to close down my system each time'...or words to that effect.
Up came another site with a lot of reassuring signs, like 'Here to Help' '14 years experience' '11324 satisfied customers' and 'write your question here' So I did.

Up came another box- 'I can answer your question: how much are you prepared to pay...£28 ?'

Excuse me?
 I'm looking everywhere for the 'Piss off' button, or another box where I might vent my spleen into but up came another box.

'Are you hesitating?'

No matey, I'm switching you off.

So...I'm  guessing that wasn't AOL
One good thing...when I lost him I lost AOL as well.

Saturday 25 June 2011


 A re-post, may I be forgiven. The muse [such as she was] has left me.

by Moannie
Description: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_zJyifBpiWGQ/SumADnV0ZSI/AAAAAAAABH4/YEJ9Av6Pt8U/s400/barcelona.jpg

Ah! Look at the love light in her eyes, the jaunty stance of the guy who knows he's cute, and the knowing smile on the face of Senor Gordillo who is in on the joke.

Barcelona, 1957, one of the golden years for me. I was 22 , on holiday in an exotic location abroad, staying with my boyfriend at his lodgings in the apartment of middle aged, spinster sisters Conchita and Laura, neither of whom approved of my presence. The sisters only ever rented rooms to men, students, like JP, or travelling salesmen like Senor Gordillo. I was only tolerated because JP's tenancy was to be long term and his rent provided a good income.

My room was next to JP's and was smaller, his had an anti room where we ate our meals under the watchful eyes of the sisters who observered us from the kitchen at the end of a long corridor and heaven forbid that the door swung closed; Conchita, the head guard dog would bustle along carrying a dish, replenish our plates and prop the door open again.

Incredibly, they appeared oblivious to  the fact that our rooms were connected by a balcony which ran the length of the building-either that or they had put us on our honour, well not I, for at that time I did not speak Spanish and was a very 'good girl' of the fifties - but probably JP, and he would have had no scruples, for, though Catholic, he had lapsed to such a degree that it was only superstition which led him to light candles for the dead and anyway, he always chose his battles well.

On one occasion, when washing out undies, I did JP's as well, and the sisters threw a tantrum which involved much shaking of fists on the part of Conchita and apron throwing over the head of Laura as Conchita shouted that I was taking good money out of their pockets and that they wanted me gone, adding that I was a Scarlet Woman and they knew what we were doing at night. We left them to it and went to the Bullfights, staying out till late in the evening hoping they would have had time to cool down. They were both still up, and docile, even apologetic. Senor Gordillo had told then that their fears were groundless, he was a light sleeper and could vouch for my purity. He could of course, because we had been very good.

But then we weren't.

Hence the smug expression on Senor Gordillo's face.

Saturday 18 June 2011


Yesterday I met a fellow Blogger, the first one ever and it was lovely and strange and very very quick.

It began with an email from Libby at D'scribes. She was in Whitstable for a couple of days and could we meet? I phoned the telephone number provided and we arranged that she would come over in the afternoon, after one, when lunch plates would be cleared and Milou walked and I would be primped and ready.

Then Stavros came in for lunch and we had an hilarious noisy hour of he an JP topping each other's jokes and Stavros  revelling in our crusty bread and Camembert and drinking three cups of coffee.

2pm and he had to leave, luckily his surgery is next door but one so he was able to linger until the very last minute. We all got up from the table and then Milou began barking, looking towards the front door where the letter box was rattling.   JP got there first and took a parcel and cards from the Postie who was trying to push the lot into the slot. Bit of a panic as Milou was very near the exit so I shut him inside then saw a woman standing next to the Postman. A quick impression of slenderness,  dark hair, sweet smile, red umbrella, linen tunic and I rushed to hug her and draw her inside.

She began by saying that she wasn't staying, that her sister was in the car and she just needed to put a face to the Blog, as it were. But JP and Stavros were still at the front door talking and Milou was nowhere to be seen and I panicked, thinking he had somehow got out in the melee ,  so I dashed around calling him, finding him locked outside the back door. He rushed into the room and welcomed Libby like a long lost friend. Poor thing, must have thought she had entered a mad house.

We chatted, briefly, in telegraph ese. Our Blogs, how we felt about it, how often she travelled down from the Midlands, then she had to go.

I thought, afterwards, how clever of her. Don't you think so?  Meeting Blog pals could be scary. We show a persona that may or may not be a true reflection of who we really are. I mean I could be a ninety year old sex fiend or a nineteen year-old religious nut.  Or we could take an instant dislike to each other and she would have been stuck, drinking undrinkable coffee  until she could politely leave, and then it would put her off for ever making the attempt at another meeting with another Blogger.

Now as far as I am concerned she was a delightful lady and I am sure we will get on well the next time we meet, and hopefully JP Milou and I made a good impression in the few mad minutes she was here.
I do hope so.

Thursday 16 June 2011


Buddy Greco - Welcome

I was in bed on Monday evening at 11pm, listening to Michael Parkinson, that dapper old guy of Chat Show fame who, I had believed, had faded into limbo and thence to move to Commercials selling us oldies a tiny Insurance [just enough to cover our funeral expenses, removing one  more problem from our nearest and dearest in their hour of sorrow].

I've always had a soft spot for our Michael; he clung to his Yorkshire accent, allowed his full head of hair to silver and then turn white, never gained an ounce of weight - and, though his twinkling eyes promised a flirt, seems always to have remained true to his Mary. But mainly it was because my music was his music- the big Band Sound and every singer who ever sung the American Songbook. His knowledge is encyclopaedic [thank the Lord and Google for spell check] and his passion unabated.

For years and years he hosted a Sunday afternoon show and BBC 2 and it was a must for me. Then the heads of 'Knowing what is good for us' gave his show to another and the Big Bands gave way to pop and I gave up.

 The only time I see him now is when he is promising a free gift for 'Cover' [only a few quid a month and, after two years all funeral costs will be paid.] Shame really; for this man who had them all on his Saturday night show-most of his heroes from Sammy Davis to Mohammed Ali, Bette Midler to Lauren Bacall. then fade out.
But, without my noticing he is back, from eleven to midnight every Monday evening and I am ecstatic, because now I can have my music twice a week. David Jacobs, who must be knocking ninety is on on Sunday evenings eleven to midnight and he too plays my kind of music.

So, as I was saying, there I was, listening to Michael, and he had already pleased me with the Earl, the Duke and the Guvner, with Ella and Peggy and the Count, when, almost at the end played two 'records' of  the great Buddy Greco. This man has it all as far as I'm concerned, not that my love for Francis Albert is diminished; he is the voice, and Sammy was the all round song and dance man. Tony Bennet still scares me; will he get that impossible high note? [and he always does, even now] but to me Buddy Greco had a dangerous edge. He looked dangerous with that boxers face; he played piano with and for the best and he sang all over the place but always came home in time and on note.

'You might be interested to know' said Michael, at the end of the second record of Buddy simply playing jazz piano, '...that Buddy is now in his late eighties, still plays and still sings in Gigs around his home. And,I bet you never thought he would be living here in England, in Kent...' At this point I sat up in bed almost losing my earphones. 'in W......on sea.'

Oh my word! The great marvellous Buddy Greco lives ten miles up the coast from me! Not in Hollywood or Carmel or Las Vegas or New York, but in a tiny seaside town on the Kent coast.  And he still performs.

I switched off my radio and closed my eyes, picturing myself at one of his concerts and, with the power of my very vivid imagination saw the room, the piano and the man himself, unchanged, still excitingly dangerous [to me he was, though probably is and has always been a pussy cat] I saw all the white heads in the audience, all the Veet smooth chins, and went to sleep to him playing and singing just to me.

Friday 10 June 2011

It's just a phase, I'll grow out of it.

I have been thinking rather a lot lately on the subject of growing old. It happens to all of us who have been spared the alternative-and is as inevitable as the turning of the earth, and taxes. If anyone asks how it feels I usually manage to smile brightly and say that it feels OK, quite natural, and just throw in a pseudo joke about 'could do without the creaky joints' or 'the important things are still working.'  But lately, as bloody arthritis catches me out when I'm least expecting it; when I stride out confidently with Milou and hobble home and JP says 'That's it, I'll take him in future.' Or when I think of something to write here or simply to add another item to my grocery list-and in the time it takes me to find pen and paper I have forgotten it; that is when I start to wonder if I have reached the apogee and am beginning the quick slide down.

I can write this, know what I want to say and can  say it. I'm a whiz at Code word puzzles, Scrabble, Rummy and Belote; I love a good argument as long as you let me speak [before I lose the thread] have a trillion recipes in my head, as well as the lyrics to any song written between the 1930's and the 1960's. But...

I'm so nostalgic for the old me. The me who ran rather than walked, who danced at the first tarradiddle and did not stop until the musicians were packing away their instruments. I remember how it felt to  feel alive, almost able to follow the path of my blood pumping in my veins and laughing out loud at the sheer joy of being young and alive. That arrow dart of desire, bidden or unbidden, and it's promise. The expectations for a better tomorrow and the fulfilment of  long laid plans.

NOAOson asked me, the other day, prefacing the question with...'Not meaning you or Dad..' I think it was the Tesco story  that triggered the query although he was vehement that that was not the case[ can't really blame him if it was]

NOAOson: 'Mum, how do you know, if you are...when...um...well not quite...um?

Me: Hazelmere? [our family speak for Alzheimers ]

NOAOson: Well yes. If  you had it you would hardly be able to diagnose yourself, would you? Well not you.

Me: It is a perfectly valid question and reminds me of something I read ages ago. 'It doesn't mean you have to worry if you forget where you put the car keys, only if you forget what the car keys are for.'

And so far I can still remember, just as well as I can  remember the young, vibrant me.

But don't worry my friends...this is just a passing phase, and I shall grow out of it.

Thursday 2 June 2011

Green thumb? Hardly! [for Jackie]

I'm not a gardener. I think I am a Garden Enabler. I only know the common names of plants, some plants, and even that is a hit or miss fact. I once had an acquaintance for whom a Rubber Plant was a  ficus, as in 'My Ficus Elastica 'Decora'  is giving me cause for concern, or 'My Antirrhinums are taking over the border' or, 'My new borders will be a mix of Phacelia Campanuloria, Gypsophilia elegans and Godetias.'  [Thanks to: The Complete Guide to Successful Gardening: Published by Samson and Low 1978]  She was a gardening snob and I never liked her, but let's not speak ill of the long departed.

The basic layout of my gardens,three small interlocking spaces, was laid out before we arrived, all I have done is introduce lots of  compost, bulbs of all shapes and sizes buried in any earth that gave way to my trowel, and planted three trees. I'm a sucker for any sad looking plant on sale that I bring home and nurse with medicine and hope. I seldom weed unless the plant stings, stinks or doesn't even have a flower to recommend it. Three years ago I planted a large bulb that was in a mixed bag of bulbs bought at a garden sale; it was too big to be a daff. or tulip. I planted it deep into a large pot with three Geraniums. The flowers grew and bloomed two years in a row but the bulb lay forgotten.

[All these pictures enlarge beautifully with a click]

 Then last year a small bush grew out of the bulb, flourished and died down. This year it grew again, produced two buds which burst into glorious blossom and announced themselves as Peonies.

 I try very hard to restrain JP's use of secateurs and shears because I love the way that nature finds it's place, and the wonderful play of light on the different shades of green upon green. The plant with white flowers is, I think, a false orange. Pretty flowers but they do smell rather like an incontinent cat.

Seventeen years ago this rose bush was a spindly thing; couldn't make up it's mind to live or die. We left it alone and now it is knocking on the study window.

 Even tiny gardens have secret spaces if you look hard enough. This ivy covered spot is behind the Lilacs and the pear tree.

And this space is under the massive Elderberry tree. No longer simply a bush it has provided me with enough flowers to make a dozen bottles of cordial: delicious.

I have no idea what this blue flower is. Last year there was just one and this year it has seeded the entire border. Love it. Enabling, see?

And of course, a cool spot for Monsieur Milou.

Have a lovely summer.