Author Archives: Z

Z talks of many things, distractedly

We went over to see Weeza & co today, as her mother-in-law and her new beau are staying – as with LT and me, it’s lovely to know that there’s love after being widowed and I know that, if I’d died, I’d have been very glad for Russell to have found happiness again.

I’m sure Zerlina has grown again.  We don’t see them so often now, so it’s even more apparent when she’s crept up on me.  They’ve been looking at high schools – really, it was a choice of two and they’ve put them in order of preference, so hope now for the one they want, ready for next September.  It was young Gus who really enjoyed the visit to the preferred school, especially the science labs – he loves anything science or engineering based.

Tomorrow, we have the Lowestoft auction and the china and everything else are all packed up – I have to go through the checklist in the morning, but we’re very nearly there.  I had a near-meltdown moment this afternoon though.  I’d bought the new toner for the printer, and the old one ran out halfway through a job.  I took it out and couldn’t work out what to do next, and started to talk to the printer in a rather unfriendly way.  Tim – probably very amused, though he was kind and tactful enough to hide it – came and took over, though he had a moment of not knowing which way up something went, as well.

We’d had a substantial lunch so just had omelettes for dinner.  Apparently, there are only three slices of bread left and we’ll eat two for breakfast.  So we’ll buy a loaf.  This is quite radical for us, nowadays, bakers that we are.  Well, that I am, in practice.

We took two squashes for Weeza, out of our plentiful store.  Got to get it to manageable quantities somehow.

Cat napping

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned RasPutin, the feral tomcat, for a while – you may remember that, back in the summer, he disappeared for a while and came back thin, with a very thin coat.  He didn’t pick up very soon and I was worried,  However, he has now and is actually quite fat, as a result of all the extra food I’ve been giving him.  This afternoon, he came up to the side door to remind me to feed him, which I ignored completely.  Poor Eloise cat was affronted enough already.

I didn’t sleep last night and Eloise was thrilled.  She came and lay next to me with her face against mine, stroking me.  She evidently thinks I’m turning into a cat and that this is a jolly good thing.  She is a very happy little cat and gives us both a lot of joy, though neither of us had ever thought of ourselves as cat lovers in the past.

Actually, Z really needs a holiday

I’m struggling with a feeling of melancholy – I don’t like to use the word depression unless in a medical sense here, which it isn’t – which is nothing to do with the onset of winter, but is caused by a situation I thought I’d dealt with, after much anxiety and cost, but has cropped up again, more worryingly.  And I want to shelve it but I mustn’t and I’m close to panic attacks every time I think about it.

What helps, of course, is JFDI and I’ll start with an email tonight and, once I have a reply, I do have a plan – which means bringing in professionals and throwing money at them – but it’s still up to me to implement it.

What keeps me from despair is that no one is ill, no one is dead, it’s just stuff.  But, my word, it’s no wonder that I don’t listen to the news any more.  I turned on the radio at lunchtime, a couple of weeks ago.  I was shouting at it within a minute and had to turn it right off again.  I don’t need to add fury to anxiety.

However, it’s been another lovely sunny day.  I harvested most of the last of the outdoor tomatoes – there are still some volunteer plants with cherry tomatoes on, but I’m a bit lazy about picking them all – and we had some for lunch in a salad, with some of the last of the basil and various other things.  Last night, Tim cooked his Basque Chicken recipe, which is always delicious but actually was exceptionally so; and there’s plenty left over for tonight, so excellence guaranteed and no work.  I’m actually, in my own life, deeply content, but that doesn’t stop me feeling almost too stressed to cope.

I don’t appreciate that my affairs are quite complicated until I look at other people’s, and then I realise that even everyday life can quickly become so.  I’ve cut down on a huge amount, so it seems straightforward – I remember saying to my solicitor after Russell died that it was all quite straightforward and she said, um, actually no, it really isn’t.  And indeed, there’s an awful lot of stuff that still isn’t dealt with and even this house isn’t yet in my name.  The paradox is that I have rather a dread of the boring.  If I cut it all right down, just lived in a nice little house on a sensible, fixed income, knew what I’d be likely to do day after day: now that would really be depressing.  I’d do wild things just to spark an interest and, no doubt, regret them instantly.  But the medium that can be called happy?  Yes, we can do that, I’m still working on it, and I do have joy in my life, with Lovely Tim, my darling family and my friends.

Darlings, sorry to whinge.  I’ve given myself a brief stiffening of backbone, just by complaining.  I’ll write that email now, while Tim reheats the rest of last night’s delicious dinner.

Another week of summertime … clock wise

We’ve started lighting the fire again in the evenings.  It’s still fabulous weather for the time of the year, but the time has come.  Tim was splitting logs today to replenish the store.

There is, of course, quite a pleasure in a lovely log fire and it makes up for the shortening of the days and the chill at night, so I bear autumn with equanimity, on the whole.  I still feel a sadness at the loss of the summer, the increased darkness and the feeling I always get that things are ending.  Temporarily though, of course.  I trust…

I really would like to think that we will finally have our honeymoon this winter, but I’m not particularly confident.  The main stumbling block is that each of us wants the other to organise it, to tell the truth.  But we haven’t, anyway, quite harmonised our preferences – I can’t think about it at present, it’ll have to wait until after my auction at least, but then we’ll either have to agree where to go, what to do and how much to spend, or we’ll have to acknowledge that we’re just not very good at doing holidays and shelve it again.  I’ll let you know, as soon as I do.


Cabbages and kings

Tim and I talk over dinner most nights.  I don’t mean, of course, that we don’t talk all the time, but that we pick on a subject and pursue it.  Sometimes we disagree rather considerably, though not actually seriously, but more often we find it interesting.

Tonight we were talking about art, in a broad sense; or rather artists, still in a broad sense, to include books, painting and so on.  I have the feeling that it’s too easy to be a writer, an artist, a poet – in the days of self-publishing, how do you find real quality?  It’s there, certainly, but it’s less easy to find among the dross.  A good many years ago – probably 25 or so, which means I have no concern about upsetting anyone involved – Russell saw an article in the local paper about a woman who, having retired from her job, took up painting and was putting on a one-woman exhibition.  He was quite intrigued and we went along to see it, taking my mother too.

It was awful.  Just daubs, deliberately out of scale.  Big splashy flowers that were quite out of harmony with their background, landscapes that were intended to be naive but were just ineptly painted and really quite ugly.  The woman and her husband were so excited and hopeful, and had obviously spent a lot of money on frames, prints, cards and so on, but I truly doubt if they sold anything much.  As we were leaving, the visitor’s book was pushed at us and Russell and I hesitated.  We hardly knew what to write.  My mother had more aplomb.  “Utterly charming!” she wrote.  Insincere but kind (the insincerity was in the !) and they beamed and we escaped.

After dinner we played music, or at any rate Tim did, at my request, because I still haven’t linked my computer to the loudspeakers.  It’s not a job for the evening when I’m tired.  Tim took me out to lunch today as well, because he’s lovely.

Which reminds me, I think we’re getting a bit low on red wine.  Better deal with that.

Z doesn’t stay low for long

There are a series of domestic niggles, which are a nuisance.  First, the new kitchen tap has become wobbly.  It started a while ago but it wasn’t bad and I didn’t take much notice.  It got a bit worse last week and I suspect the cleaning ladies gave it a jolly good go last Wednesday, because it has been markedly wobblier recently and now we daren’t use it in case it falls apart, and just have to manage with the filter tap and the kettle.  LT investigated underneath the sink and he wasn’t able to tighten it, it needs a plumber.  I’ve phoned and texted twice and he hasn’t answered, so I suspect he’s on holiday, though I’ll ring again first thing in the morning.

The other thing is the cistern in the downstairs cloakroom.  If you have been here and visited the loo, you’ll know that it needs a few firm pulls (it’s the old fashioned sort with a chain) before it flushes.  But it’s getting worse and there’s also a very minor leak.  I suspect it isn’t mendable: another job for the plumber.

This morning, Rose’s Boy came through asking where the annexe fuse box is – I went through and discovered two trip switches off – one went on okay, giving him heat and light, but the other, which serves the utility room, won’t work.  I unplugged Rose’s washing machine (my washing machine, though in the same room, is on my circuit) and it still wouldn’t work.  The electrician is coming in the morning.

This isn’t even touching on the ongoing worries at the London flat, which I’m not going to talk about because this blog is a Happy Place on the whole.  Suffice it to say that my tenants are leaving in a fortnight and I can’t get new ones until a problem has been identified and put right. The identifying it has taken a year so far, we keep thinking we’ve cracked it and we haven’t.  And I wasn’t going to talk about it….

So I must find a cheery note to end on.

I managed to cook tonight’s skate perfectly.  We turned out some of the freezer at the weekend and now know what goes where and have started to eat it.  Eloise cat makes me laugh with delight every single day.  LT is lovely; which is tautology but is worth the repeating.  I’ve got two new books waiting to be read, when I’ve finished the one I’m reading now.

There we go.  I feel better already.

Z keeps Eloise cat company

Eloise cat did come in the other night.  At about 11.30, I went out and called her and she didn’t come so I went back in and locked the door.  I was just turning off the light when she appeared at the glass door and called me back.  So I was much happier.  I wasn’t worried about her, but I missed her.  She’s just come indoors now, after a frolic in the garden for a couple of hours.  I’ve no idea what she’s been doing out there.  she did an alarmed little dance as she came through the porch – when i investigated, she’d been startled by an earwig.  I’ve no idea what that’s about either.

I never had realised how entertaining a cat would be.  She’s lying on a pile of papers (my vertical filing system) on the table by my computer, having nuzzled it and walked back and forth for a bit.  She decided to lie down when, having moved a piece of paper to the edge, she tried to walk on it, nearly fell off and had to pretend that she’d meant to scramble back, all along.  My computer screen is tilted forward so that I can hardly read what I’ve written, but I suspect that’s her intention.

Dilly and Al have got a new washing machine being delivered tomorrow, on what should have been Al’s day off.  But the colleague who was due to do his round has broken her rib playing basketball, or something that really doesn’t sound that dangerous, and is in a lot of pain.  As she’s only worked there for 10 months, she isn’t given any paid sick leave yet – if this had happened after a year, she’d have been able to take time off.  The boss has found her some indoor work, but either she’s have had to go off and do the deliveries for Al or else his lovely customers would have gone without their mail, which would have quite spoiled his day.  So he’s volunteered to work and I’ve volunteered to wait at their house for the delivery.  LT will arrive home around lunchtime, I don’t know if I’ll be back by then.  Apparently, they’ll phone around 9am with an ETA.

I made bread today.  It has turned out particularly well, even though I didn’t set a timer and forgot it for an extra few minutes.  I caught it before it burned, luckily.  I wish I knew what I’d done right in the making of it, though.


Z’s heart grows fonder

Young Rufus and his parents came over for lunch yesterday.  Rufus has become noticeably more affectionate to me in the last few months and his confiding way of saying “Granny” is very warming.  He had a nap in the car on the way over but has, since his last visit, grown out of waking up crying.  He came in with a smile in his face and was very good for the whole visit.  We’d made a simple lunch – some of LT’s famous leek quiche, ham, some of the last of the home-grown cucumber and tomatoes and a number of home-made preserves.  They were particularly impressed by the spiced fig jam and the dried tomatoes, which I hadn’t fed them before.  Both are certainly ones to make again, if we have enough figs, in the former case.

Eloise cat went outside when I opened the front door to fetch logs.  I’ve left the outside light on, in the hope she’ll come back but it’s been a couple of hours.  She’s quite all right, I’m not concerned – and it’s quite possible she’s decided to pay a visit next door with Rose – but I miss her.  I was rather hoping she’d spend much of the night on the bed with me.  She often does, but it’s not quite so welcome when I’m squashed in the middle.  LT is in Reading for a few days, so I’d be able to move over when she makes me too hot.


Z relies on Nephelococcygia*

I admit, I did have it in mind to look at sofas.  And, after I’d done enough preliminary research to eliminate one shop altogether, we got as far as sitting on a couple of them (sofas, not shops), looking through several books of fabric samples, talking to a nice assistant called Sara and ordering a sample of the only fabric we liked.  Luckily, we totally agreed on that.  We’re good that way, luckily enough.

I also managed to scoot round a department store – the same one where we liked the sofa – and not like any clothes enough to consider trying them on.  I quite liked a Jaeger coat, all £350-worth of it, but still not enough to put it on and I’d have to absolutely woo-hoo-hoo adore any garment for that.  There was the odd dress I quite liked, but still not enough for the price.  What has happened to clothes prices recently?  Is it the Brexit effect?  Anyway, I did find a few possibilities later in another shop but our exertions in the sofa department had worn us out and we didn’t even stay in Norwich for lunch, but scooted back home and ate sausage rolls from the deli.  With my bread-and-butter pickle and, obviously, brown sauce.

Tim’s laptop, which is only 14 months old, seems to have gone totes awry, and won’t turn on or anything.  He’s less anxious about the whole thing than I’d be if it were mine, though actually there isn’t that much essential on mine, nowadays, that isn’t backed up.  All the same, I’ve a couple of things that are going on the Cloud right now, just in case.

*The spelling is purely guesswork.  Cloud Cuckoo Land.

The city is Z’s oyster

LT has an appointment in Norwich so I’ll have half an hour or so to scuttle around shopping or – more realistically – looking at things I’m not going to buy.  I clearly don’t do enough of this, as I keep getting urges to buy something expensive, like a sofa or a new car.  I think I might be a bit like an earthquake or a volcano waiting to happen – if I shop a little bit on a regular basis, I let off just enough (figurative, I assure you) steam to keep things under control, whereas if I mooch around at home, which I’m perfectly happy to do, there’s a retail explosion waiting to happen sometime.

I went to call on my friend Jan, who’s been housebound since she broke her upper arm, two years ago next week.  She was a long time in a nursing home, but finally came home in July last year.  She can walk, using a zimmer frame, but both her front and back doors have awkward entrances and she can’t manage them safely.  She’s a very determined and self-assured lady of 86 and she isn’t always the easiest person to help, but I have ventured, after rather wanting to do so for several months, to suggest that, with help, a wheelchair might enable her to get in and out of the front door.  She didn’t totally dismiss the idea, though she came up with a few token arguments, so we might get somewhere.  If she could be wheeled as far as the car, the chair put into the porch for her return whilst her frame was stowed in the car, it would be lovely for her to get out and about again.  She’s so sociable and getting so very bored.  She does have lots of visitors, but it’s still remarkable, really, that she’s been able to keep her spirits up.