Showing posts from December, 2019

Tinsel Town

The youngest returned today. Before she came, I made sure that I had erected and decorated our Christmas tree. The debate over artificial versus real tree continues to wage. I have come to the conclusion, however, that the only way to save the planet is to avoid both, but whilst I still have my artifical trees, I shall persist in bringing them out each year. The more difficult decision relates to tinsel. We have massses of it, stored away in a box with baubles and other ornaments. Traditionally the youngest and I have dressed the tree on Christmas Eve with a playlist of Christmas songs chiming merrily in accompaniment. The problem is that what should be a happy prelude to the season of goodwill, invariably dissolves into a debate over tinsel. I insist that it goes onto the tree second to the lights and that it is threaded through the branches aplenty. The youngest disagrees, declaring it to be ugly and draping it in unattractive loops to emphasise her point. So

Friday Night and Nowhere to Go

Image by LouisBauer from Pixabay   An hour ago I returned from a Strength and Conditioning Class. The last Friday evening before Christmas and there were only six of us there. Six people without a Christmas Party to go to; no night-clubbing later and just well deserved dinners to go home to, after an hour spent lifting weights.  Of course, I'm glad I wasn't alone in turning up; imagine how lonely and unloved that could have made me feel! It's that time of year, when everyone imagines that everybody except themselves is partying and having fun. Well my class may have been sociable but fun it definitely wasn't.  If I can actually still move in the morning, I shall be relieved.  A survey commissioned by Thorntons Continental (pass the chocolates, please) has revealed that "a staggering seven in ten Brits will be apart from family and friends on Christmas Day." So much for the perception of everyone enjoying a family Christmas together. The res

It Wasn't Quite Amsterdam

I've just got back from another brief trip to London prompted by winning an opportunity to watch Alan Titchmarsh in conversation with Konnie Huq. Now it's not normally the kind of event that I would necessarily seek out to attend. However, as somebody who has waited until retirement to win something better than an Infant School Art Competition, some swimming certificates and the odd box of chocolates in a raffle, I felt honour bound to accept the prize. Staying overnight beforehand with the youngest, I had a morning free in London by myself until meeting a friend who was to be my plus one. It was a dry day, so I took the opportunity to visit St Katharine's Docks and from there walk along the canal, wharfs, and edge of the Thames to Limehouse Basin. Save for a brief visit to The Dickens Inn just after it had opened in the late 1970's and the docks were only at the beginning of their renovation, it is not an area of London I know at all. Once you lea

X is for Art

Finally Polling Day has arrived. It is an election where lying appears to be de rigeur with the leader of the Conservative Party repeatedly called out for it and 88% of its Facebook adverts judged to be erroneous. Purely for the sake of my sanity, I confess that I have tried to ignore, so far as possible, the ongoing hype over the political debate. However, when Fridgegate, Floorgate and Punchgate dominate the airwaves, it is difficult not to get drawn into  the unreality of knowing that I have a big decision to make with the fate of the country hardly resting on my solitary X on a ballot paper in a safe Conservative seat. With responsibility comes the need to consider and reflect (some might call it dithering). Even if all of those Labour ads have been regarded as essentially true, what about the rest of the noise? It has hardly been an inspiring election campaign. When the party favoured by the wealthy and privileged lies about lying and blames others for its deeply dest

The Frozen North

We returned today from a long weekend in Crinan, the home of our retirement project . In light of the sub zero temperatures predicted by the weather forecast we set off with neither hope nor optimisim for conditions suitable for painting and varnishing. However, with a meeting scheduled with the lady who is going to reupholster the saloon cabin it was still important that we made the trip. Our pessimism as to the temperature was requited when, reaching Loch Fyne, it was apparent that the fresh water cascading from the streams was forming frozen ice floes on the surface of the seawater. Nor were we surprised when arriving at the converted barn in Crinan where we have stayed regularly this year and despite turning the heating on full blast, it was at least two hours before I ventured to remove my coat and even then I was still clutching two hot water bottles. Call it nostalgia but all those memories of  childhood winter evenings huddled in front of a fireplace, came floodin