Author Archives: Z

Z makes random notes

Today, I had my hair cut. Just trimmed, it’s still unsuitably long and I still don’t care. The hairdresser pins it back in layers as she cuts, so I see how white the lower bits are. Really white! All the top hair isn’t, apart from a bit of a streak at the front, and the hair at the back hasn’t really gone grey at all. I don’t know why not, it’s nothing I’ve done.

Then Wink took me out to lunch, She had a cauliflower steak with dhal, which was very good, she gave me some. I had a falafel burger. I asked for the half of the bun and nearly all the chips, to bring home for the chickens.

I’ve caught up on the washing. I had all the stuff from Tim’s house and the caravan, as well as what was here. Six loads washed and dried on the line.

Old Polly bantam is frail, we take her food and water and put her down on the ground in the morning, but she somehow struggles up to the perch in the evening, where she can barely hang on. She still enjoys her food, she hasn’t given up, but it can’t be long.

The visiting tabby is still cautious, but it starting to engage with me. Last night, he told me he wanted food. I put it down for him, without looking directly. He didn’t eat while I was there, but I’m sure he did after I left. He almost trusts me. I don’t know if he’s feral or if he has a home, but I suspect the former.

Tomorrow, a meeting at 9.30. Luckily in Yagnub, so I hardly have to be awake. I had to print off the papers, because my phone doesn’t like the website, which has all sorts of security stuff. I should check if there are any updates, because I can’t set it up to give alerts either, dammit.


Tim’s sister, niece and I have been trying to fix a day to go to the cinema together. We thought we had it, but Niece caught covid, probably at the Elton John concert. Since, it has not been possible. Our best option seems to be for niece to see it twice, once with her mother and once with me.

The chickens acted up while I was away. Because Stringfellow bantam cock sometimes spends the night out in the run, I’ve put a kennel in there for him to shelter in. When I looked tonight,there were 16 eggs in there, since Wednesday. They think Wink is such a sucker.

Stress levels are at a raging tinnitus pitch. So better ignored. But I am having an early night, because I’m a total drip. I still think, in my heart, that the cool people party on past midnight, even though I’m not one of those any more.

Catching up

We had a 6 mile walk on the Pembrokeshire coast path yesterday afternoon. It kept fine, remarkably, though it was very windy and it was quite a long way for me, I don’t normally do distance. Good, though. Then we went back to Alan and Linda’s house and A made chicken curry for dinner. Rashid from the taxi company took me back to the caravan – I had to explain that I’d left my cash in the caravan and dashed up to fetch it. I’d barely made it home again when the rain bucketed down, I was very lucky.

I had the choice of coming back here today or tomorrow. I hurried around to do the chores at the caravan and left after an earlyish lunch, to get back at half past seven. Wink had got dinner ready for me, the darling.

Now, 10 o’clock and I’m tired. I’d turned off the Aga before I left, which probably almost paid for the petrol, so had to remember to turn on the immersion heater when I arrived back. So I’ll have a bath, try not to fall asleep in it and have an early night.

Tomorrow, I need to cancel the rest of the utilities and generally get my act together, because I’ve got a lot on for the rest of the week. Actually, it’ll be busy for the next six weeks. That’s okay, being too busy is good.

Z gets wet

Friday evening

I walked through the tunnels to Saundersfoot after lunch, then walked again – it had rained a bit this afternoon but turned more blustery, so I retreated to the caravan, removed wet clothes and put on a bathrobe. 

I had a dram as an aperitif and, at present, a Marks & Spencer quiche is in the oven – cheese, tomato and broccoli – while I’m cooking a few new potatoes that need using and probably the last asparagus of the year. Another dram of Laphroaig to come, I expect. 

Lovely to see my in-laws, their friend and his German Shepherd, Nina (Simone). I’m going for a walk with them tomorrow, weather permitting and then for dinner in the evening. 

I’m unwinding, possibly. Not presuming anything. Missing Tim worse than ever, but that can’t be helped.  

Saturday morning

The night didn’t go well. I was tired, went to bed early and slept soundly until about 11.30. That was it. I got up to make peppermint tea a few hours later, that didn’t help. 

On the way to Kilgetty to buy a paper, first I passed a nice old couple going for a stroll with their his’n’hers Zimmer frames. Then a jogger, someone walking his dog and then another walker. I politely slowed down each time, they politely thanked me with a wave and I waved back. Cheered, I sang “Oh what a beautiful morning” for the rest of the journey. And so it is, blue sky and a fresh, but not cold breeze. It’s been a wild night, though, some torrential rain. Though, beating on a caravan roof, it might not have been quite as heavy as it sounded. 

Windy from 11, the forecast says, then rain after 4 this afternoon.

A house sold name

11.15, Friday morning. Drinking coffee, looking out of the window. The rain has stopped. A man walks up the hill, carrying a carton of milk. A black cat trots past, with a bouncy step. He knows his way about, he won’t get caught by any of the dogs. A lot of visitors bring their dogs, which are allowed on the beach. It’s a good place for walking, relaxing, playing. 

I’ve just had a phone call from my conveyancer, confirming that the money from the house sale has been received and will be paid into my account by the end of the day. I’m suddenly startlingly cash-rich. Not for long of course, I’ll be paying out next week.  

Next, I’ll go to where there’s an internet signal and post this.  I’ll buy a paper, download emails and phone my in-laws (not actually mine, they’re Tim’s, but I think of them as family and hope they do too), who live locally. I’ll see them sometime over the weekend. Otherwise, I’ll practise doing what I really want to do and no more.  

12.35 pm

I’ve bought a bottle of Laphroaig, a cream cake (bit random there, but it’s a change), some raspberries, local strawberries and an avocado. The last three were more to look less decadent, whilst keeping the self-indulgent theme. And the sun is out.

Going, going, gone

I’ve had a fabulous day at the house and garden of Henry Moore, the sculptor. I’ve visited the gardens before but the house wasn’t open then and it was wonderful to see. Not large, certainly very unpretentious, but filled with treasures and interesting bits and pieces that give a genuine insight into his mind and the objects that shaped his art.

I was, all the same, on tenterhooks, because I expected a call at any time to say that the contract had been signed by the buyers. I was in the coach on the way home when I received it – it was a final check that Friday was okay for me. I confirmed and then I reckoned it was out of my hands, there was no point in worrying. But it all finally did go through, just before 5 o’clock, so the house is sold.

Too tired to write more after a day in the sun, with added emotion. If I write again over the weekend, it’ll be on my phone and in a brief online glimmer, so it may not be managed. I hope to relax once I get to the caravan. The forecast is – not unusually for Pembrokeshire – rain, so there won’t be much else to do but relax.

Z winds down a bit

I’ve just finished a conversation with the friend – the husband, that is, of the couple – who stayed the other night. As I said, he’s a great raconteur and conversationalist and my landline phone actually ran out of battery, so I phoned him back.

Perdita is a darling, the morning went well. Ronan was a little frustrated by a colleague who keeps changing meeting times – everyone works from home, which is fine if you have self-discipline and can prepare, but maybe this person can’t. But to change the time twice and then the day has knock-on effects to other participants and I suspect there will be observations made to the person’s manager. I was playing with, reading to and singing with little Perdita while Ro was working, so all was tranquil on my side.

Eloise cat is lying on Tim’s table, looking relaxed. She spent the evening outside, so doesn’t know I had crab for dinner. Half of it remains, so she’ll be welcome to share the rest tomorrow. I’m not in the mood to cook, or even to prepare food at present, so it’s only a sense of self-respect that stops me living on crisps and chocolate.

That photo is returning me to happier times. I thought it was taken the year that we moved here, or the next year at any rate, but all my children disagree and tell me that I’m a couple of years out. It was still a happy time and I might feel like retreating there. Reminiscing can be good for you.

Dot and carry one

Old Polly bantam is getting less mobile by the day. Rather than feed her on the perch, I bring her down to the ground in the morning, so at least she does move about a bit. I’m sorry to say that Jabber the Cluck is a bully. However much food there is about, I have only to bring some to Polly for Jabber to try to push her aside to get it herself. She gets unceremoniously shoved away. But Polly is eating and drinking well and still has bright eyes, so I just hope she goes gently one night, as her cousin Jenga did.

With three roosters left, there’s a clear pecking order and Stringfellow is at the bottom of it. Jenga Junior rules the roost and Stringfellow is afraid of him – this is better than them all vying to be top cock. But this evening, Stringy didn’t come in with the others and I just shut the hatch on him. He’s got a secure run, a waterproof, comfortable shelter, food and drink and he can just put up with it.

I was supposed to meet Tim’s sister and niece in Norwich today, but his niece has come down with Covid, no doubt caught at the Elton John concert last weekend. So we’ve postponed. I visited Ronan though, who’s been going through Tim’s LP collection. One of his friends would like any records I don’t want, so Ronan did the preliminary sweep to save me the work. He’s really enjoyed it, they shared an appreciation of music and had much the same style of taste. To the 30 he thought I’d like to keep (or hoped I would), I added another 8 or 10. I’ll deliver the rest, two boxes full, to Reading on Thursday.

He also showed me his work MacBook Air – he’s got two at present, as his needed updating, so work sent one along for the stuff on it to be transferred. I’ve always much preferred a desktop to a laptop, but I’m thinking of buying a new computer before long and I have a feeling that the ideal will be a laptop plus a monitor, to have the best of both worlds. Once I have some breathing space, I’ll look into it, asking Ronan to come along to help me.

While turning out yesterday, Squiffany and I found this photo. I think it dates from 1986, the year we moved here, judging by Ronan’s size, though it could be the next year.

Tomorrow, I’m looking after Perdita while Ronan is working. It’ll be fun. Then I really must get myself organised for going away and for the final tasks before the house sale goes through.

Before the storm

I had a blood donor appointment booked for the first week in July, but I had an email cancelling it on Thursday, with apologies. So I looked on the app and found an alternative venue, fairly local if not as convenient, on the same day. On Thursday, I had a text cancelling my appointment. It didn’t say which one it was, so I was a bit puzzled – but looked on the app and the new one was still there, so I guessed they were just being thorough. Today, I had a letter in the post, cancelling the same appointment. I’m sure there’s a pun in there somewhere, but I haven’t thought of it yet.

The house is chaotic. Squiffany and I have been turning out. The further dining room is the worst, as it has the contents of the strongroom in there, not the items that need to be kept in there but packing materials and items of furniture. Russell put his big kneehole desk in there, thinking he’d use it as an office, but he never did, unsurprisingly. I certainly won’t. I’ll get rid of the desk, one way or another. it’s too big and I’ve nowhere else to put it. There’s also a nice little Edwardian escritoire, which looked good in our last house but there’s nowhere to put it here. So that will go. I’m eyeing up a few other items that I just don’t need or want.

I’ll be away next Saturday, but Squiffany has her eye on some cupboards and will turn them out. Today, we also swapped two chests of drawers, which I’m pleased about. The one in my bedroom is big and solid and rested on the floor (it has no feet, I don’t mean others float) so was difficult to shift when a bird fell down the chimney behind it. It was the chest that Tim used and I hadn’t emptied it, so we did that too, removed all his shirts that I hadn’t previously taken out of his wardrobe and took a dozen or so bin bags of clothes down to the clothes bank at the village recycling centre.

I was too tired from emotion to do much more once Al arrived, but he and S brought a couple of things I wanted into the house from the workshop. I’ve not done much since, but had a long bath this evening and a sandwich for dinner. And there’s just been a great clap of thunder and I’m going to bed. Goodnight.

Keeping on keeping on

Wink went to London yesterday, to watch the tennis at Queen’s Club. She had bought her ticket two years ago and had hung on to it ever since – the friends she’d been going to go with had cashed theirs in, but Wink is persistent. She was also lucky in the Wimbledon draw and has got two tickets for the second Monday, so we’re going together – first time for me. She’s booked into a guest house the night before, with car parking so pfft to rail strikes.

I announced we were going out to lunch, so we did. With my vague bump of direction, it’s always wise to put on the satnav, but it took us a different way from last time and it’s one of those villages where a post code gives a wide area. So we were slightly lost, a couple of hundred yards from our destination. I really should let them know that clicking on the route on their website takes one to a similarly-named place in Kent., more than three hours drive away instead of twenty minutes.

I picked up my phone every time a message came in, but it was nothing important. Inevitably, I was away from the phone for an hour or so when the email I was waiting for came in. But as soon as I saw it, I printed it and phoned my neighbours at the Rectory, to ask for a witness to my signature.

So, I’ve signed the contract and posted it. I’ve done my part. Still quite a lot to do, in fact, but not in relation to the sale of the house. It’s up to the purchasers and the solicitors now.

It’s the 86th anniversary of Russell’s birth as well. So the bottle of local Earsham Charmat Rosé that we drank was in honour of him as well as Tim. No wonder I feel confused. Wink and I both had fish and salad planned for dinner, so combined our menus and ate outside on the lawn, it being a mild and warm evening.

Tomorrow, Squiffany is coming to help with more turning out. On Sunday, I’m meeting Tim’s sister, niece and great-niece in Norwich and we’re going to the cinema. Then I’m going to look after Perdita on Monday. I don’t stop running. Occupet extremum scabies, as Horace put it (that more or less means, devil take the hindmost; last one is a rotten egg).