Sunday, 7 August 2022

The Plaster For Most ills


Tim with Sitges friend 2018

Like most families, mine can be slightly unpredictable when arranging a meet. 
Someone is distracted and is late, someone wants to eat early, someone forgot the time, someone( like me) is invariably early. 
I’ve learned to go with the flow. 
We generally all get together when we need to.
Last night was my brother in laws birthday. We all arranged to meet at our usual table for 8.30 pm so I donned my second best I love Sheffield  T shirt and went out to a gay bar around the corner from La Santa Maria for an early drink beforehand .

Minutes later I was talking to Greta, a rather shopworn and heavily made up German lady in her seventies.
She was sat at the bar reading a Spanish magazine.

Initially I thought she was in drag but as it turned out darlings she was indeed a elderly Austrian former Opera Singer from Barcelona. 
All this information I gleaned moments after she referred to my T shirt 
Sheffield…I sang there in the 1980s, It was a beautiful city as I recall” she sang out 

Now Sheffield, in the 1980s as anyone from the iron city would tell you , wasn’t very pretty at all and after a bit of banter I actually found out that Greta had in fact sang at the Grand Theatre in Leeds and had been a chorus singer on stage for over thirty years, most of it at the Opera houses in Barcelona and Valencia.

I was never disciplined enough to be a good performer “ Greta confided “ Too much good living” 
She tapped her glass and I bought her a beer
“ it’s too hot for anything stronger” she confided and she waved amiably at a group of gay men who were getting up to leave their table all of whom waved back and blew her kisses.
“ The Gays love Opera! “ she explained. 

She chatted about Montserrat Caballé, who she said was always delightful to the “chorus folk” and talked fondly of her funeral which she said was supported by the Spanish Royals indeed.

I found her an absolutely delightful character and would have stayed longer if I hadn’t somewhere to go
When I stood to leave she asked me if I was meeting a young man and I told her I had family to catch up with
“ Ah family” she emoted wistfully, the bangles on her thin arms jangling loudly

“ The Plaster for most ills” 

And she waved me goodbye

I go back home tonight. 
It’s been a lovely 72 hours or so….and Greta was right… is the plaster for most ills in the world 

In the restaurant , The die hards proved that last night when we drank the last drinks of a honest evening
Sharing stories, until then untold, around the safe dinner table 
( written 0022 Monday 8th)

Killing Me Softly

As usual I’m sat at a table with my coffee.
For me, this is Sitges’ best time of day.
La Santa Maria Hotel has changed hands since we were all last year and the German Matriarch Uta who owned and oversaw everything has been replaced by a faceless manager from a chain of hotels.
The place has been streamlined and changes made, most noticeably. In the guise of the Maître d, who is now a 1980s dressed bundle of nerves with a quick temper and bad manners.

But breakfast time remains what I always remember it as being.
Cheese and sausage and scrambled eggs
Lovely coffee and 
Peace and quiet.
A Spanish version of Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly is playing on the radio and The famous Church of Bartomeu and Santa Tecla has rung out the quarter to nine chimes
This pleases me 

We are all talking last night of the significance of having a regular family holiday at the same resort in the same hotel when there are too many new places in the world to visit, and I would agree with that sentiment .
From this post covid year I intend to visit new places and make new experiences 
But for a few days in a blistering August, it’s still lovely to be catching up with the familiar and with family. 
To touch base over coffee and drinks 
To remember and to celebrate.

And With the swift’s screaming in their fish shoal circles around the Town’s Church tower, it’s easy to realise that most things don’t change too much.

Saturday, 6 August 2022


View from Hotel Room
Hey ho
And lunch


Friday, 5 August 2022

Sitges Bound


I can’t be arsed with much luggage
T shirts, shorts, undercrackers a book, 
iPad and phone
Family reunion here I come, up at 2 am for airport
If this one is cancelled I’m off to Sheffield

A Māori performance is called a Rotorua
The performers flutter their hands quickly, a movement called wiri, which can symbolise shimmering waters, heat waves or even a breeze moving the leaves of a tree.

Thursday, 4 August 2022

Angitū Whakawātea • Tāmaki Haka Ngahau 2022

Sometimes a group of Maori choristers belting out an Adele tune is exactly what you need on a Thursday Evening/Friday Morning
the power of the harmony is phenomenal. 

Watched, in part a sobfest kannada film with a patient called Charlie 777 which had me and a patient crying buckets
and that's without  effin subtitles!!!


This is a nice old video. 
William, old Winnie and George have long gone leaving Mary as matriarch with the ever neurotic Dorothy  as back up but it’s important to remind myself that the new Puppy will find his way, like his predecessors did, with the help of Swedish meatballs and some continuity of care.

I’m a firm believer of succession planning when it comes to dogs. Having one in back up never dulls the pain of losing an older dog, it just makes is tolerable. 
Dogs also do better in a larger group, I always think. They become more reliant on each other and less reliant on you , which makes the whole pack stronger and more adaptable to change
Mary and Dorothy need a male dog’s presence. 
They spark off each other too much with Dorothy’s blind love for me dominating the pecking order a little too aggressively. 
Winnie, was the calming voice in the pack. 
Now it will be hopefully up to Roger who,
I hope , when older , will be able to step up to the mark and control the girls.

I’ve always, always wanted a dog called Roger.
In fact I really don’t know where the name  Finlay , came from, when my first Welsh terrier arrived .
Roger was always going to be his name

Roger was Gerald Durrell’s first dog and his first friend. 
He was the constant supporting actor in Durrell’s My Family And Other Animals and Birds Beasts and Relatives and The Garden Of The Gods and followed his ten year old master all over the island of Corfu

What was your childhood dog called?

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

La Santa Maria

 Between now and 7 am Saturday morning , I have to squeeze in two night shifts , one visit to someone in hospital, and a date with a rather sweet guy for dinner.
Early Saturday morning , ( God Willing) I shall be flying to Barcelona in an effort to meet up with my family over in Sitges. Just for a couple of days

I’m only going for three days, I’ve got night shifts and a visit to London to fit in after that to see Nu’s Christmas gift of  Too kill A MockingBird at the Gielgud 

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Basil Davies


Covid and long term illness has meant that several of the old characters of Trelawnyd  have been effectively isolated from everyday village life. 
Basil Davies , was one of those characters. 
Today was Basil’s funeral. He was 85. 
Born and bred in Trelawnyd, Basil farmed Ochr y Gop most of his life. A bachelor, he shared his beautiful Georgian farmhouse with his sister Mona, who was famous in my eyes as a champion scotch egg maker but who also was the school mistress of Gwaenysgor village school for many years.

I had a great deal of respect for Basil. 
When I had my small holding up and running, he would often stop at my gate for a chat and when I held my open days and ran the flower show, he would always turn up in his Sunday best to support the event.
Quiet and measured, praise given by him , always had extra gravitas and meaning and I remember once feeling near tears when he stopped to thank me for what I had “done for the village”, once one of my open days was over.

I was always grateful to him too as he always took the time to ask how My husband  was and always referred to Chris by his name. That acceptance has always had my respect and was never ever forgotten .

Trelawnyd said goodbye to a dear son today
God Bless You Basil

Monday, 1 August 2022

Streams Full of Stars, like skies at night

 The delightful P reminded me of a poem I know but have never read.
W H Davies’ Leisure 

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

I went to Chester this evening to see the Spanish comedy The Good Boss with the delightful Javier Bardem.
It wasn’t as good as I hoped , so I left the Storyhouse early .

It was raining so I drove home and got home late for me at around 10.30. 
The dogs and Albert and I walked down the Lane soon after 
It was humid and raining still, but only lightly 
And we all stopped at the end of the lane and stared at the sky to the West, the clouds over the hawthorn hedges that shadowed the hidden moon.
Albert chatted his teeth at the bats that circled the single street light and seemed to stand and stare too
And Dorothy growled a low growl when the horses in the livery fields stomped their feet in the grass.
Mary sat down and leaned against my calf , just happy in company

We stood there for an age, until my hair flattened 

A poor life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare

The View From My Kitchen Table


I’m not sure what I’m doing today.
The new washing machine was supposed to be delivered but that’s been delayed until tomorrow.
I’m sat eating brunch which is an air fried sausage on mozzarella bagel delight and am looking out of the door onto the patio pondering my day.

I’ve been pondering for almost two hours now. 
I’m an excellent ponderer. 
Coffee cup getting filled just twice.
I’ve finally booked to see the Spanish movie El Buen Patrón tonight at the Storyhouse
Which pleased me .

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Open Range

 I’m just enjoying one of the most underrated Westerns in cinema . Open Range (2003) stars Kevin Costner ,Robert Duvall ( at his most understated) and the gloriously attractive Annette Benning 

The film says a lot about respect, friendship and loneliness. I’m enjoying it with a beer and a large packet of cheese and onion

Benning is the only woman I’d ever go straight for.

Saturday Night & Sunday Morning

I’ve just been sent this song from a friend
They have had , I suspect, a couple of scoops
And are tired and emotional.
We’ve all been there on a lonely Saturday night/ Sunday morning, have we not?

My mother would often ring people late at night “ for a chat”
Those were the days before mobiles when a phone call late at night would always mean bad news.
Often , that assumption would be correct , as my mother could spout drunken rubbish for hours.
Nowadays, our mobiles know who is calling.

And we don’t answer.