Monthly Archives: February 2022

Z zzzzs

I seem to have rediscovered the knack of sleeping – some nights, at any rate. The night before last wasn’t one of the successful ones and I was awake, mostly, until 4.30 or so, but last night I slept for a good nine hours. I’ve been a poor sleeper for a couple of decades, so this is wonderful. I don’t mind some failures if I can get good, sound sleep some nights.

Tim’s house will go on the market later this week, Wednesday or Thursday. It feels unbearable but it isn’t, of course and I don’t have any other option anyway. There are, in any case, other things to think about. Ronan and Dora have come to the sad conclusion that their marriage does not have a future, they’ve been politely living apart in the same house for some months and she is moving out this week. It’s all friendly, much discussed between the two of them and they’re focussed on the positive aspects of looking after the children. Dismal as it is, it’s being done with mutual respect and all the families are rallying round. My part in it. as well as supporting Ronan with his equal share of parenting, is lending him my car, so I’ve bought myself a little electric car for local driving, while still having the BMW for fun. I paid for it today and will pick it up next week, because my insurance is due for renewal anyway then.

I idly downloaded a book onto Kindle, free, this afternoon and started reading it. I can’t remember what it’s called, but someone travels back in time to 1976, 6 months before he was born. I’m not happy with, in the first few pages, a description of a car as coloured “puce yellow.” If the writer can’t be bothered to check that puce is a colour, not a shade, I don’t have much hope for the rest of the book. One wants to encourage authors but I’m glad I didn’t pay for this. I don’t much like reading electronic books really, though i’ve got quite a lot downloaded, it’s just not as good as a real book. Unless it’s not good enough to be worth printing, of course. I’ll keep an open mind for a bit longer. In proper paper terms, i’m rereading Cheaper By the Dozen, which is as entertaining as I remember from when I last read it, many years ago. I also discovered, in the bottom of my suitcase, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which I bought in Savannah where it’s set and only got halfway through before I came home. If I’m not too tired to read in the evenings, I’ll whizz through them all in no time.

Z is still sociable

Last night, I had an email from an old friend, former blogger Badgerdaddy. I’d been thinking of him for a few days myself and meant to get in touch. I visited him, some eight and a half years ago, in Ludlow. He lived in a one bedroom flat and had offered me the sofa – in the event, he insisted I took his bed and he shared the couch with Millie, the Wonder Dog.

He’d been invited for dinner with friends and asked if he could bring me along. Their faces, when we arrived, were a picture. Obviously, when told that a friend was staying, they assumed it was a girlfriend and they were bemused, if politely trying not to show it, when a much older woman turned up, especially when I relaxedly chatted to their small children and was obviously used to grandchildren. I explained the situation over dinner – ‘just good friends’ can mean exactly that. We’d met when Badgerdaddy lived in Yagnub and was a customer at Alex’s greengrocery.

Anyway, when I told him about Tim he was shocked and, once he’d put his young sons to bed, he WhatsApped me and we had a long chat. I was telling Wink about it this morning and we agreed that I must take road trips and visit friends as soon as I can. I’m feeling restless and want to catch up with people in person. But that won’t happen for a few months yet, apart from Sophie, whom I mentioned the other day, because she’s close enough to visit in a day.

The visit to Reading went well, the photos should have been taken by now and, once they’ve all been processed and a video tour put together, the house will go on the market. Wink was wonderful, she worked extremely hard cleaning the house with me. I’d bought a new duvet cover and taken it down on a kingsize duvet for the main bedroom – not that there was anything wrong with Tim’s, but sprucing the place up a bit never goes amiss. And a kingsize duvet on a double bed is always good too (and a double on a single bed eliminates the draughts that grown-ups manage to cause, every time they turn over in a too-small bed.

Friends asked us over for dinner. They’re two of Tim’s oldest and best friends and Carolyn was his wife Viv’s very oldest, they were at school together. They’ve been immensely kind to me.

The blog party hasn’t got a date yet, but it will certainly happen. Several people have already accepted the invitation. Late June or in July, I haven’t got a preference as yet. We had planned to have a mid-July party this year to celebrate Tim’s 80th birthday and, whilst I won’t lay a place for him as I’m neither superstitious nor macabre, I’m sure we’ll raise a glass in his honour.

Reading matters

The satnav enquired, when we were just past Diss, if we would like to save 9 minutes on the journey? I had already turned down a saving because it would have taken us on the A12 and, therefore, a longer time on the M25 and that has no appeal. But i said yes to this offer. I’m not sure we really saved any time by going through Botesdale, Garboldisham, Redgrave and other pleasant villages, but it’s a pretty route through to the A11 near Thetford and we were quite happy.

The house is becoming unnaturally tidy. Not that it was untidy before, but anything that might look cluttered in a photograph has been put away. Tomorrow morning, more housework, a meeting with the agent here, a visit to his office (Wink, having been an estate agent office manager, suggested this) and then we can relax until we’re picked up for dinner.

I feel all over the place. At one time, on the way, I thought of Tim and had the happy warm feeling that I was on the way to him. i hadn’t forgotten that he had died so much as reacted that he was still alive. This was painful, not comforting. But it is to be expected, i have a long way to go before comfort and I don’t mean to complain or ask for sympathy. i just note how i feel.

I have been in touch with my friend Sophie. The poor innocent has shown an interest in sourdough and I have offered to take her some starter. She used to live round the corner and is now an hour away. I haven’t seen her for about ten years and look forward to visiting.

She mentioned that she appreciated the invitations, every time we asked friends over, after her husband died far too young. i remembered my mother, widowed at 46, whose social life dried up because she made an odd number. She didn’t fit. Though people were still happy to be invited to our house. I like odd numbers, myself. Especially if they’re prime.

Z’s social whirl

I came to add a post the other day and I was assured that I was offline, which I wasn’t. If the host or whatever is having a problem, it should tell me so, not tell me the fault is at my end. Anyway, the moment passed and I’ve been either busy or tired since.

The week was somewhat sociable, with two lunches out and friends round for dinner on Wednesday evening. We should have gone to Weeza yesterday, but the wind was so strong, having been advised not to drive, we didn’t. We’ll go next Saturday instead. The social life isn’t about to stop, I’m going to Rose for lunch tomorrow and there will be other guests, one of whom is her – this is no insult, it’s how I described me in regard to Tim – latest squeeze, whom I haven’t met yet and the others are old friends of hers whom I know already. Then, next week while Wink and I are in Reading (lovely Rose is house sitting), friends have asked us round for dinner. I really do crave a social life again, especially after my wonderful fortnight away.

Which brings me on to the subject of a possible blog party. If I could pick myself up after Russell died, I can now. If I don’t, it’s not likely to happen again and I may not see some of you for ages, if at all. Not the beginning of June of course, because of Her Maj – I wouldn’t want to steal her thunder, hem hem, but I’m fairly free otherwise in June and July. Any takers?

Sunday at the Zedery

I took Al and family out to lunch today. How lazy of me not to cook and how I don’t care. The nearby farm with shop and restaurant does very good Sunday lunch and we went there. With Wink, of course. Then we all came back here, mostly so that Pugsley could have his choice of Tim’s electric guitars. Young Pugs, who’s now 15, is a very good guitar player and Tim was impressed by him. He’s just passed his Grade 7 exam and is about to take Grade 1 on the piano. He tried them and chose the Gibson. Tim would be really pleased. The others are spoken for – a friend would like one, I want to keep one and Ro would love to have Tim’s bass. So it’s been a good day.

I’ve felt melancholy this evening, all the same. But that’s bound to happen. So I played a DVD of Peter Grimes, filmed on Aldeburgh beach in June 2013.

I wish I’d gone to the performance, but I couldn’t quite face it. I’d have been on my own, sitting on a shingle beach on a chilly June night, paying some £65 for the privilege. I went to one of the concert hall performances instead, which was wonderful, and the recording made that night is the soundtrack on the DVD. Absolutely magical. I must have written about it, I’ll look.

Yes, here it is. I even managed a pun in the title of the post.

More pictures from Georgia

I’ve managed to get all the pictures mixed up, but the two I wanted to mention here were the double barrelled cannon – a particularly unpleasant-sounding inventor devised it to maim as many people as possible in a single shot. However, when tried out, there was unintended chaos.

A more charming story is of the tree that owns itself. Its owner loved it so much that he left it its own plot of land in his will.

Both in Athens, Georgia, where we went to meet my blog friend Hey Bartender, though she’s a wine merchant now. She is brilliant fun and her husband, who owns a wonderful deli, is too. I’d love to go back and hit the music scene with them. She shaped much of my musical taste, some 10 or 12 years ago.

Photos at last

Here are some of the photos. I took hundreds, I won’t inflict them all on you. To start with, I excitedly took photos from the plane. I have no excuse except “excitedly.”

We meant to go out on the first day but we were too busy talking and the next day it snowed. It didn’t settle in Smyrna, though it did to the east and north. Beautiful houses, the development was built in the 1980s but the standard is far higher than any small estate here.

My hostess grew up in the wonderful town of Savannah in southern Georgia. The old houses have been restored, thanks to a group of people who decided they needed to be saved and encouraged homeowners to buy and repair them. Exactly who should be given most credit is up for debate, not by me, this might be a post for another time.

Paddle steamer, wonderful. And lunch was proper southern food. Fried catfish, fried chicken, pork chops, collard greens (which you sprinkle with vinegar steeped with green chillis), creamed corn, mac and cheese (counts as a vegetable) and green beans. And sweet tea, obvs.


It took me a long time to apply for probate for Russell. Nearly 18 months. It was complicated but also it was me. I sometimes couldn’t deal with things for a week or so.

Tim’s affairs were more straightforward, but not as simple as I’d expected. I found a few investments that I hadn’t known about. Also, I have to concentrate on one thing at a time, as far as possible, nowadays. When Tim died in early September, my first consideration, as well as telling friends, was notifying official bodies. Then I had to break off after a couple of weeks to focus on his funeral service. When that was over, I had to concentrate on my auction – I was obliged to learn how to write the catalogue for that in the fortnight after he died. Then, I needed to do the accounts within a week so that I could finalise arrangements for his memorial service. After that, more paperwork and then prepare for Christmas. Then I went to the States. Okay, I didn’t have to do that at all, but my host is about to have treatment for cancer that will wipe out his immune system for months, and his mother is frail and in her 90s. It may be now or never.

I’ve managed to get most things done but I didn’t know there was a deadline. If there’s inheritance tax due, it has to be paid in six months or interest is charged. No one told me. Until yesterday. So I’ve put together the information – really very little left to come in – and will drop it off to the solicitor tomorrow.

I need comfort and support, so it’s good that I have my sister, who specialises in being lovely. I’m also good at comforting and supporting myself, because I’ve needed to be.

I also seem to have potentially volunteered for something that will need a skillset I don’t yet have. But it will help, so it seems to me to be worth it. I’m obviously an idiot and therefore wrong, but I have left myself a get-out, not that I’ll probably use it.

Z rambles, but at least Z is blogging

I gave my big television to Wink when she moved here, because Tim and I so rarely watched it that it seemed a better idea for her to get more use from it. Now, I have Tim’s own big tv, but I’ve put that in the study. When I watch anything, I’m quite happy to look at it on the desktop computer – but I’d rather return to the days when the computer was in the study too. I don’t want to type in the evenings any more, not regularly (which is the reason for infrequent blogging at present) and prefer to get it done in the morning, which is the best time for that east-facing room anyway.

But now, if I want to watch anything in the evening, I’m stuck with Tim’s laptop. I’ll work it all out in the end, I suppose.

I wasn’t meaning to sound humble or despairing or depressed, in saying that my opinion doesn’t matter. It’s just more peaceful not to mind so much, not to be indignant. It won’t change anything and those in charge are so very sure that they’re right. Although I wish that they wouldn’t go so very bull-headedly into the current fashion, it’ll all change again in a few years. Then they’ll excitedly explain what some of us have been thinking all along and charge a lot of money for it.

When I was chair of governors at the village school, the Head was talking once about some parents who were quite casual about sending their children to school. If everyone overslept, they just didn’t bother. This was before parents were fined for letting the kids bunk off. I suggested that the school secretary could reserve a few minutes every morning to phone and ask if the children were unwell? I thought that would get them going. The Head said there wasn’t time for the secretary to do that, it was unworkable.

Within a month, she’d had the idea herself and it worked. In fact, it was not unknown for a staff member to go and fetch the missing pupils. I don’t say that the Head claimed my idea deliberately -she dismissed me and instantly forgot I’d said it. I didn’t say anything. It was the effect I was interested in, not the credit.

I’ve had two phone calls and an email about the next auction from potential clients, since I’ve returned home. Looks like I’ll have to do some work before long.

Photos next time. I don’t have them on the laptop and being hunched over the keyboard makes my back ache. I can see why laptops are popular, but certainly not with me.

Rah, Rah RasPutin!

I have downloaded photos and will return to the holiday, but just to keep up to date, I was very happy this afternoon. I went out to feed the barn cats and was dishing out food to them when I saw Eloise cat, I thought, looking at me. She disapproves of other cats and only approaches them to chase them away when they’re near the house. After I’d given all the food, I went back towards the entrance to the place where I feed them and the cat moved off – in the wrong direction. I was confused. I looked left and saw a tabby, not a tortoiseshell. The cat looked at me, then went through the missing plank (intentionally missing) into the cats’ barn. It must have been RasPutin, father cat to all the Barnies.

He vanished in the autumn of 2019 and he’d returned several times over the previous few months looking thin. I fed him until he looked well again, then he disappeared – he vanished for good in the November, I think, I assumed he’d died. But it seems he hasn’t. No other cat would go into the Barnies’ barn, it must be RasPutin. I’m fond of him, he was never a pet and I made no attempt to catch him. But I’ll be thrilled if he comes back to be fed again.

I went to a Nadfas lecture today and I could speak about the integrity of a personal collection rather than a museum collection, not that the latter doesn’t have its valid place. But not now. Quite possibly never. I don’t see a lot of point in getting impassioned nowadays, my views don’t matter and that’s okay.