Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Typical Lockdown Day

 


Oh Darling John, I am now invigorated for the day!”
Chic Eleanor was on good form this morning.
We met in McDonald’s car park and drank our coffee in our respective cars 
No pashmina but in place was looped a long dark green woollen scarf.
Her hair looked glorious

Later Ive seen The German Lady and The Uber Couple out on my walk and said hello to all 
At home I’ve made vegetable soup spiced up with horseradish 
And I’ve lit the fire early, it’s cold and wet and miserable 
I will go to zoom choir tonight, I haven’t been for over a month 
I’m a bit lonely today



Monday, 25 January 2021

It’s a Sin


 It’s a sin
The reality of this 1980 s based Russell T Davis  tv Drama  set in the gay world during the aids crisis wasn’t part of my world and indeed of my history but boy is it a powerfully emotional glimpse into a piece of history where a whole generation of men were failed
A wonderfully evocative, moving and important piece of filmmaking 
I sort of recognised myself in the characters but boy did I recognise Nu 


Rubber Chicken Abuse


Somehow Mary has gotten hold of Winnie’s rubber chicken
For the last 65 minutes she has been attempting to kill it in the East Wing upstairs
The calm of the evening is lost forever 

Negativity


 I love this photograph 
The character in the blue could be anything...it could be covid, a toxic relationship or just life at its very worst, but we have all, at one time or another, felt it’s pull and experienced it’s draining feeling.
“ She could suck the lifeblood from out of a lemon” was a saying my mother would employ about a negative and chronically pessimistic friend oblivious that she would act the same with confines of her own family
What do you think of when you look at the photograph 
Answers on a postcard please 

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Beautiful


 The view from the Gop above the village today 

Bloody Hell

 


Night shift, so it’s sleep all day.
Everything goes tits up in that 45 minutes in between waking and leaving for work.
Dorothy had projectile vomit all over the bedroom and landing ( probably due to a large piece of her leash that she had managed to chew off and SWALLOW ) 
I found the offending article amid a pile of steaming stomach contents  lying at an astonished Albert’s feet in the east wing. 
Another job for the carpet cleaner on my days off, I told myself
The vomiting thing made me late, so I just managed to grab my uniform and a pre made salmon salad from the fridge before emptying the post box and setting off for work.
I wish I hadn’t collected the post for in it were two ...yes TWO !  speeding fine documents 
Apparently on one of the few day off I had, when I ventured to the supermarket I had been clocked doing 35 miles an hour in a 30 zone TWICE !!!!
Once on the way to the supermarket and the other on the way back twenty minutes later.
Now before Miss Angry from Tumbridge Wells Leaves a snotty comment, I KNOW, I am to blame, but I do think it is a bit rich, certainly given the area I was caught in.....
  

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Hitchcock, Wind and A Night Train To Venice

 

I’ve missed last Big Gay Quiz because of work but I shall return to the zoom session next week.

Last night I did some research in the quiet corners of the shift and took a leaf out Rachel’s book and booked myself some online study lectures from London’s City Literary Institute   
And so over the next few weeks I shall be looking at the Spy Thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock and how the spy genre responded to changing political and cultural contexts as well as exploring The Wind In Film ( which strangely speaks for itself) 
I’m a bit tired of tv box sets and crap tv.
Anyhow all is now booked and debit card has been emptied yet again.

I’m also looking to book the night train from Paris to Venice for later in the year.....I’ll tick that fantasy of sleeping on a train very soon.......

Friday, 22 January 2021

Recipe and The German Lady

If you want a full proof recipe for a heart winter soup here’s mine for Broad Bean & Chorizo Soup 




 Chorizo and broad bean soup
Three large tins of broad beans
Vegetable stock
1 large onion.
2 cloves garlic
1 small chorizo ring
Large tablespoon low fat Creme Fresh.
Black pepper

This is the best of homemade winter soups!
Gently fry off the onion with chopped chorizo, 
The oil will ooze out of the sausage and stain the onions .
Add garlic and fry off.
Add beans with their tinned juice and stock and bring to boil
Then simmer gently for at least an hour
Liquidise, add creme fresh and season 

Bloody lovely
I’ve turned into fucking Nigella ....

After making soup I took the dogs for a walk and as usual bumped into Uber Couple and after them German Lady. 
I like German Lady
We only say hello, but I like her genuine smile, her jaunty terrier who is always ready for a row with Mary and her flared jeans .
Her hello is friendly and almost overwhelmed by her thick German accent 
Today she said Hello, then added “ Your old Bulldog? Has she died?” as she stopped.
I told her that she had and the woman nodded sympathetically 
“ She alvays made me laff” she said “ You must ave many good memories of her” 
I liked the fact that the woman immediately went for the positives of the situation.

Further down the lane my best memory came back to me and I almost turned to look for German Lady in order to tell her about it. 
It was just over two years ago.
Christmas day late morning 
I was sat on an empty Promenade by the sea
It was a grey cold day and I was newly separated from the Prof and grieving not only him but William, who had died in his sleep a couple of weeks before. I remember George and Mary were sat on my left pressed hard against the cold and Winnie sat on my right sulking.
Winnie was annoyed in a way only bulldogs get annoyed , 
She was livid .
I had not only brought her out for a cold walk on the beach and not her usual sheltered railway walkway, but I had made her walk, far too long along cold concrete , then made her sit with her fat face facing the wind. 
She wanted to go home and she “ Harumphed “ loudly when I started to play with my phone, in order to get the best of Christmas selfies 
Twenty minutes later she finally lost it
And grabbing my shoulders with her massive paws she heaved herself up and looked me square in the face.
Eyeball to eyeball
Her expression said it all
Now Fuck off ...Im Cold.....I want to go home”
I snapped the “ look” in a selfie
I miss those knowing looks and those quietly authoritative temper tantrums of hers.



 

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Nominations & Big Ups ( village social media)

Today’s blog feels very community and social media based....

Our Hattie has reached the final of a National Heroes competition !
So the news shared our local paper! How lovely is that ? She sooo deserves to win


The villagers have been busy voting the pub The Crown one of the top businesses in Flintshire too, a business that is facing a bloody hard time due to the covid restrictions . The new landlady and hubby chef just reopened the pub to much adulation a short while ago, only to be forced to shut , days after the successful re launch, and both have battled hard to come up with a takeaway service to keep the wolves from the door. 
The takeaway menu is wonderful and eclectic  




Storm Christophè has caused some local flooding here. Pippa from the rectory  posted this photo on the wardens social media page yesterday and messages bounced around from village leaders ian and Helen’s home which is called y felin which means Mill in welsh . Their house lies down the valley from me and was the position of an old water mill. 
It is surrounded by water. 
Sandbags may need to be moved there in the morning ......watch this space...

The lane just around from my cottage

More social media news. I got a tag from liv Randa yesterday evening who finished and loved the book I bought for her
It was Little Women 
The family  Sent me a photo of happy baby sitting days ....well with old William doing the babysitting 


Liv and the book

Covid has increased community spirit here...as it has done globally 

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Peace

 Lady Gaga’s Golden dove of peace said it all




I shed a tear at Biden’s speech.......sanity.......sometimes there are days when you need to lend a hand and days when you have take a hand

Amanda Gorman ...amazing

Let’s move on


 Whatever your politics, the President of the United States must be articulate and calm and possess a sense of humour. Biden and Kamala Harris seem to have have those traits.

Good luck America



Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Cheers


 I may know a single man in the village who would benefit from meeting Chic Eleanor .
We talked about him today and laughed about it. 
She’s a delight for she’s not adverse at meeting someone new.
We talked about it today in McDonald’s car park 
She asked me who I would like to meet, the kind of guy she could look for
I laughed 
“ A man with an easy smile , who wears a jumper with a hole in it” I told her seriously
She understood where I was coming from 

And we raised our coffee cups in our respective cars......
Cheers 
We toasted 
And she smiled her warm Lee Remick smile

Training Dorothy and Coffee with Eleanor

 

For over a year I have been walking Dorothy along the site of the Prestatyn / Dyserth railway 



Yesterday we passed a couple who I have nicknamed The Uber Couple, they are a couple I bump into regularly .
Now The Uber Couple are always together and always dressed in some sort of Lycra. In their late fifties they have hips and cheek bones to die for and always walk with a sheepdog collie who is trained to behave within an inch of his life.
Their buttocks glint with the flash of polished steel.
The sheepdog is never leashed, but to be fair he doesn’t have to be because with one click of their fit fingers his owners have him under more control than Trump had over Melania. 
The Uber Couple know about dogs and about dog training and their superiority is palpable 
I always feel like the poor relation when we pass....

Poor relation because when  William and George were alive they used to behave ,as terriers so often do when confronted with farm dogs, they behaved badly .
I did explain to The Uber Couple that the boys had been once attacked by a collie dog at the farm above the village , so they smiled their thin smiles of understanding as their dog trotted by with his nose in the air and  William and George yapped with the zeal of two chihuahuas fighting over a gravy stain.
Winnie of course added to their slightly patronising eyebrow raising as she would deliberately walk in between all of them with a sanguine dry smile and a look which never wavered from the road ahead.
Her amble gave all three of them a massive “ fuck you” message

Anyway Mary has long since followed the William And George school of terrier behaviour and she growls   rather magnificently when we pass but Dorothy with all of her neuroses has tottered forward on her lead with her frightened expression turned away from any strangers.
Now over the past six months I have been letting Dorothy off her lead for short periods whilst down the walkway and when another walker with a dog would come into view I would call her gently to return to be leashed, an order she would always comply to. This habit, we have adhered to until recently, when I felt that Dorothy’s confidence was at its highest. 

Yesterday Uber Couple approached us with all muscles flexed ( they even had on matching bobble hats! ) and as Mary stiffened for some bad behaviour I clicked my fingers and asked Dorothy who was trotting ten feet ahead to return to my side where she walked with what I hoped would be the precision of a police dog.
And she  did so, without a murmur and after we passed the Ubers the lady Uber turned around and commented 
“ You’ve done a great job training that dog .... well done ”
I preened at the praise , so much more than I should of done. 
I almost shed a tear too as Dorothy tottered forward and
With Mary still growling at the end of her lead.



This morning I drove up to McDonald’s to meet Chic Eleanor in the carpark for coffee.
The weather was atrocious but she looked fresh faced and as smiley as ever
“ Darling John..it’s almost like a tryst “ she admitted almost guiltily, pulling a green cashmere scarf tighter around her neck. “ Chin chin “ 
We raised our coffee cups from our respective driver’s seats, our breaths steaming in the cold air
She reminds me of the actress Lee Remick.