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Pateo Velho

          Would you like to join me for dinner this evening?  I’m going to travel back to July in 2015, to Lagos in the Algarve where I stayed with Hubby in the Tivoli Hotel and ate outdoors one evening at one of the restaurants available..  “PATEO VELHO” .

t549. Pateo Velho.

          I’ve booked a table, it might not have been necessary to book for a table inside, but I wanted to book the same table on the balcony where we sat before, come straight down the path on the left and join us.  Oh, mind the steps.

t550. Shaded seating.

          Take a look at the menu, excuse me while I stifle a yawn, it’s not at all reflecting on the company, we were up early this morning to go “Shadowing Dolphins“. Oh it was well worth the early alarm call though, they’re beautiful creatures and once I relaxed I really enjoyed the boat ride too. I’ve never ridden on a saddle in a speed boat before.

t551. The grill.

          Is that your fish they’re bringing out to the grill? No, I think its Hubby’s.

2015-07. Lantern lit restaurant.

          I didn’t notice the lights come on, did you, very nice they are too, I guess it would be difficult to keep candles lit on the tables of an evening, the breeze picks up quite bit, a warm breeze nonetheless and of course we’re sheltered by the canopies and the heat from the grill is making things feel cosy. 

t553. Lantern lit seats.

          Sorry, the cosiness is bringing on another yawn, we were out late last night, it was our anniversary and Hubby booked us a table to eat at a little bar just outside the main hotel entrance, I forget its name right now, but it’s across the road and a little to the left.

          I had a saxophone for my birthday, Hubby says my wanting to play the sax is part of my mid-life crisis so I’ve named my saxophone “Harley“.  Anyway, there just happened to be saxophone music on offer on the day of our anniversary, so while I played like a local and took a siesta, Hubby booked us a table and surprised me.  “Rui Sax“, that’s the name our music maker went by, and he really did make beautiful music.  If I finally get my act together and maybe practice for forever and a day  that’s what I’d like to sound like. 

t555. Dinner.

          Oooh, desert is here, always my favourite part of the meal. 

t560. Dessert.

           We’ve got another boat trip booked for tomorrow morning, that will be our third since we’ve been here.  We were told, and you can see for yourselves, that the breeze picks up quite a bit here as the day goes on, a warm breeze yes, and it’s quite refreshing of an evening if you’ve spent the day out in the sun, but it does whip the waves up a bit so smoother waters are to be had by setting the alarm clock. 

t568. Lantern lit balcony.

          We’re going on a little boat tomorrow morning, apparently we’re going to be hugging the coast, squeezing into little gaps and caves that can only be seen from the sea.

          On our other boat trip we went “Sailing“. I think I enjoyed the dolphin trip best, but I’m pretty certain Hubby preferred the yacht. 

t569. Evening dining.

          Oh, sorry that’s another yawn, I think I’m going to have to call it a day.  Feel free to stay and finish your wine, I’m going to take a short-cut past the pool back to our room..  Bed is calling me.   Goodnight. 

t570

          More from before: Lovely holiday in “Lagos“, in the Algarve, July 2015.

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Bamboo

          I remember a time when bamboo furniture was the height of fashion. I quite like bamboo, it’s got a natural, comfortably curved appearance but Hubby isn’t a fan.  I don’t think it’s the appearance that he doesn’t like, it’s more the squeaking and creaking as the furniture moves under stress… And the fact that I fidget.

          Many, many moons ago,our neighbours had a set of bamboo shelves and as I had expressed a liking of them, they came in our direction when they were no longer wanted.   I’ve been  wracking my brain to remember where they’ve gone, I can’t remember giving them to the girls, or getting rid of them in any other way, but they don’t appear to have moved with us.  They’re not in the attic, I was up there the other day poking around in the boxes looking for ornaments to put on the mantlepiece, they’re not in the shed, there is a set of shelves in the shed, but it’s the much shorter set we used to have in the cupboard under the stairs with shoes on… 

          Of course, I cut off the middle shelf of the bamboo shelves to fit them in around the electric meter… and wedged them in sideways into the cupboard under the stairs next to the coats.   They’ve got shoes on them… Out of sight, out of mind.

          The settee in my kitchen “Light box” from our last house was made of bamboo, luckily it was in a place where Hubby very rarely sat so I could fidget and wriggle to make the settee creak as much as I wanted to. Unfortunately when we moved, my little settee turned out to be not quite so little after all and had to be sent back with the van as it wouldn’t fit through the front door.

2014-02. Lightbox.

          We’ve still gone for a natural feel to the furniture in the new house, but we’ve done it with wood rather than bamboo. We’re down to our last piece of bamboo, this piece has been around since the girls were tiny – a magazine rack

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       I had the magazine rack from one of those parties… Do you remember them, house parties full of ladies drinking coffee and eating cake provided by the hostess.   Invitations would go out and you would be invited to go along, to eat and drink, to watch a demonstration, and then hopefully to buy something from the product range.

          I went to many a party with no intention of buying, lured in by the “bums on seats” promise to the hostess who would receive a free gift for throwing the party.  I hosted many a party too, for giving up an evening, providing simple refreshments and inviting as many friends and family as I could, I would receive my free gift, often something from the product range that at the time I would otherwise not have been able to afford.  This is how I got my magazine rack.  Its served its purpose well but now that everything else bamboo has been sent to other homes (or dissappeared into the back of beyond in the cupboard under the stairs) it’s time for it to move on.

          In those days when the girls were small and spare pennies were few and far between  I managed to accumulate a surprising number of “things” without very much outlay at all.  I used to play the catalogues quite often.  I would send off for a new catalogue and choose one purchase from it, (usually clothes for the girls because I soon discovered that if you feed then they grow). I would make my purchase and spread the cost over a few weeks, usually twenty weeks was the accepted time.  Once my purchase was made, I would choose a free gift for opening a new account, a toaster, or new kettle or something similar.  Then once my purchase was paid for, I would close the catalogue down and open up another one… For another free gift.   .

          As the bamboo rack has had its time, so have the social shopping evenings and catalogues.  With the Internet available on pretty much any gadget you can lay your hands on, you can still shop from home with tea and biscuits but it’s not always a social occasion. However, I was window shopping with Mum-in-law on my mobile phone last week, looking for a new magazine rack.  The bits of new furniture we’ve bought are apparently made from Mexican pine, with an antique wax finish, but the little fixtures and fittings, handles and hinges etc are small, black, round, and metal.

          Well, there it was… A small round black metal magazine rack, even Mum-in-law agreed it would look much better than the bamboo one.

          Hmmn, then I had a problem, Hubby’s not tight with the pennies, if anyone is frugal in this relationship it’s me, but I see the little things and add them all up to make the finished picture, whereas Hubby sees the big picture first and when the big picture is finished then maybe he’ll think about the little things, but maybe not. Or to put it another way, should I really be buying a magazine rack that we don’t really need when there’s still so much to do in the house. 

          I made a spur of the moment decision and I bought it. I justified the purchase to myself by deciding to give it to Hubby for Christmas.

          I really am no good at this spending money thing,  before long I was starting to feel guilty because I’d really bought it for me, not Hubby, then I started to worry that maybe he wouldn’t like it, maybe he would prefer to keep the bamboo one, and the thought of worrying until Christmas made the decision to tell him it was on its way.  I showed him the picture, and as luck would have it, it looked much better than the picture when it arrived so now it’s got its own little spot between the TV and the bay window… And the bamboo one is looking for a new home.   

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          More from before : Delving into the murky depths of my “Memory Vaults

Upper right three

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        I’m so glad that NHS dentistry has a ceiling on the amount on treatment costs.

          I went to my dentist before we moved away and everything was fine. She greeted me with her usual sympathetic smile.   “How are you today Sallyann, is everything OK? ”  then without giving me the time to answer she scolded herself, “of course you’re not OK, you’re here” she added.

          She’s grown accustomed to the fact that I don’t follow her instructions for regular check-ups, I only go to the dentist if I need to.  The problem is though, I need to go to the dentist often.

          When I was six, I had rheumatic fever and ended up taking iron tablets for what to a six-year-old seemed like many many years.

          Oh, they were really horrible. Even as somebody with a bad memory I can remember the taste as if it were yesterday. UGGCH!!!  Imagine a round flat paracetamol tablet, (they tasted more like paracetamol than paracetamol do)  add to this the lack of the ability to swallow tablets, then also add that to this tiny little six-year-old the tablets seemed as big as dinner plates and there’s no wonder that I pulled every trick in the book not to eat them. 

          Hiding them under my tongue was an obvious ruse which was discovered in no time, even with my attempts at miming a fake chewing action.  I got away with hiding them in my sock and throwing them away on route to school for a good few months though. 

          Pretty much everyone has a Harry Potter style cupboard under the stairs, our house was no different and the door to our cupboard was near enough to the breakfast table for me to quietly open the door and launch my tablet to the back of beyond, never to be seen again… Let’s face it, how often do you clean in the cupboard under the stairs. 

          I believe it was the doctor who finally got me to take my tablets regularly.  I’ve never responded well to the stick, but the carrot has a slightly more productive effect.  The family were planning a camping trip and the doctor was to have the last say as to whether I could go or not, I believe some sort of bargain was struck involving my being allowed to go camping and my taking of my tablets.

          Bribery and corruption you say ? Well, call it what you must .. Personally I prefer the term “training with rewards”.

          We’ve wandered off the line a bit, but the train of thought here goes somewhere in the direction of the taking of iron tablets for so many of my earlier years had an adverse effect on my teeth. 

          I’m not sure how much effect, if any, the iron tablets had on my teeth, I’ve always has an active imagination  but fact or fiction doesn’t really matter as my teeth are what they are, and what they are is weak and crumbling.

          I don’t think I have one tooth which hasn’t been drilled at sometime, I am probably to blame for most of the decay, but I grew up in an era where dentists got paid for the work they did, and not for the number of patients they had on their books. I don’t remember ever having a trip to the dentist as a child without a drill being bandied about. And as for my childhood dentist, well, he earned his nickname “the butcher”.

         I’ve gotten used to my dentist of the last few years, she’s very patient, and very friendly.  She even agreed that I could stay on her books after we moved away and go back to her for any dentist treatment I needed. However, Hubby got a message from the dentist to say that his regular check-up was due and took us both off the books. 

          Top and tail of the situation is, I’ve had to go and find us a new dentist here. I’ve snapped a tooth. There’s no time to build up any trust, no gentle easing in with just a tiny treatment to begin with. I have to jump in with both feet and put my mouth in new hands.

          And as for my pocket… Boy that’s going to hurt too.

Clarke’s Pie

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          It’s often strange what our brains can find to trigger a memory – a smell, a song, a picture ?  The pie in this picture pulls my memory in all sorts of directions. 

          One of the memories the pie dredges up is from my childhood, from my secondary school years.  It’s a memory sitting quite near the surface after a conversation I had with a customer in the shop today, being a non-smoker, the customer was amazed at the price the person in front him in the queue had paid for cigarettes.  He couldn’t understand why anyone would start smoking at all, let alone want to spend that much money on it.

          I smiled with my best customer smile and made the appropriate noises in the right places for polite conversation but my mind had wandered back to my school days when I had started smoking.

          It probably won’t surprise you to find out that I didn’t really fit into most of the categories in school.  I most definitely wasn’t cool enough to fit in with the popular people, I didn’t have enough sporting talents to be considered fit and I wasn’t brainy enough to be a real nerd.  One category I found myself forced into far too often though was that of “bullied”.

          One group of girls in particular would seek me out for their entertainment and I would spend my time in school hanging around near teachers, in need of protection, and my break or lunch breaks hiding, often arriving late for lessons, not wanting to enter the classroom until some sort of authority arrived first.

          Arriving late got me into trouble a few times and I was sent to detention after school.  This is where I realised that another group of people existed in school too, I suppose you’d call them the misfits. I was a good girl and didn’t get into trouble very often, but they just seemed to accept that I was there in detention for whatever I’d done and they weren’t interested in what, or why, I just was. 

          After a few times I searched them out one lunchtime and found to my relief that the bullies didn’t even look in their direction, I started spending more time with the misfits, they would leave the school grounds and wander into the lanes around the area to smoke at lunch and break times and I tagged along, eventually trying smoking for myself.

          I became quite close to one of the girls, of course my mum didn’t like her, and probably blamed her for the trouble I was getting into at school, but hey ho, we became good friends for a while.

          My mind wanders again, I used to have school dinners, I’d be given my dinner money on a Monday and I was to buy five dinner tickets for the week.  My friend used to have free dinners and would report to the secretary’s office to collect her five tickets.

          I would buy just one ticket and so between us, we’d use our six dinner tickets for three days school dinners but on the other two days we would go out of school and I would use my dinner money to buy our two day’s dinners at the local shops. 

          In one direction there was a pub on the corner who sold pies and pasties through a small kiosk window, and on the opposite corner a post office shop where we would buy a packet of crisps to complete the meal.  In the other direction there was a bakery. They sold the pies in the picture, made from a thick crusty pastry and a gravy-like meat filling. They were hot, from underneath a glass counter, and combined with an iced bun, this was always my favourite dinner of the week.

          Years later, the bakery where I used to buy my lunch is no longer there, but the pies are still made and sold in the indoor market in Cardiff.  Mum-in-law has brought me some home from a visit to Cardiff before, and at the moment I have a supply in the freezer brought to Weymouth with Hubby on his last visit to Cardiff.

          Oh, just incase you’re wondering, I stopped smoking over thirty years ago before trying to start a family.  

          More from before : Delving into the murky depths of my “Memory Vaults

Ivor Gunn

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          We’re not quite at the moving stage of moving house, but we’ve definitely entered the pre-packing stage.  As a hoarder, this stage is painful to me.  Hubby clears things out regularly and so most of the things in our house belong to me and since we’re downsizing, I’m supposed to be being ruthless.  I’ve never been ruthless at anything, maybe that’s why I was never any good at sport and why I very seldom get annoyed at losing at cards, not that I lose very often mind you.  I thought I was doing well, I’ve already thrown out a pile of old calendars from as far back as 1998.  One for each year we’ve lived here, but Hubby apparently thinks not and keeps offering stern words of encouragement.

          I’ve been busy digging into all the little corners and cupboards where I’ve hidden away things in case they were needed later.  And as for the shed… well, I blame my grandfather, Pop, for that, “It’ll come in useful it it’s never used”, he used to say, and very often it did come in useful as it was used.  To be fair, although it’s become a bit of a joke, “Mum’ll have one in the shed”, the contents of my shed have saved the day on many an occasion.

          I’ve been up in the attic today, passing down boxes and boxes to Hubby who seemed almost too happy at the number of bags and boxes which I sent straight to the back garden for a trip to the tip with Youngest Son-in-Law this afternoon.  He ended up doing two trips for me, taking the first load himself while I set about an old set of shelves from the back of the shed and piled up my reserve bits of wood and piping.  I still have to sort through my tools and a few more boxes of bits and bobs but that’s a job for maybe tomorrow.

          Youngest Daughter is coming round tomorrow, after her ,”mandatory weekend lie in”, I’ve got a few boxes, and bottom drawers of old broken electrical stuff that needs to be sorted out.  You know the type of stuff, old phones, remotes for TV’s we no longer have, chargers for phones which don’t exist anywhere other than in a museum anymore.  I do like moving house, but all this “ruthless” lark can’t be good for me.

          I’ve still got a few more places to sort out, also a few more things that I can’t find.  At some time or another I think pretty much everyone has had a go at writing a book, I know I did when my girls were small.  They were particularly frightened of wasps and so one year we bought Eldest and Middle Daughters a little soft toy each in the shape of a wasp, it’s wings zipped together to form some sort of cocoon around it and I wrote them a story about Wendy Wasp who lived in a cake shop.  I’m not too sure where they are at the moment, I’m sure they’ll turn up. 

          I did find my original handwritten versions of my attempt at writing a novel though.  “Ivor Gunn”.  He was my private investigator and I had a whole string of stories ready for his character and a variety of others.  I even wrote a sequel.  That was before I realised that since my reading age hadn’t got very far above thirteen, then my writing age couldn’t be expected to be very far from the same number.

          Still, everyone can dream and my dream of semi-retirement at the seaside is so close I can almost hear the seagulls.  A new home in Weymouth, not quite a stone’s throw away from the beach, but less than a five minute walk from the boats.  And the semi-retirement bit … I can see the tunnel, but cant quite see as far as the light at the other end yet, but “One day.

          More from before : Delving into the murky depths of my “Memory Vaults

The boxing

          I knew Hubby really wanted to watch the boxing on TV but we were away for the weekend, the B&B we were staying at was run by two “little old ladies” although this had its benefits… extra biscuits with the tea and coffee facilities in our room, plenty of butter for the toast at breakfast…  Unfortunately,  Saturday night boxing on TV didn’t quite reach the menu.  With this in mind I suggested that Hubby found somewhere to watch the match.

          This is how I found myself in the middle of a noisy crowded pub on a Saturday night, I can’t even begin to describe how far out of my comfort zone I felt.

          I have this ability, be it a blessing or a curse, to detach myself from my surroundings and retreated inside my head. I guess that’s how I can fall asleep so quickly, obviously a blessing in that case.  Hubby’s world moves at a much faster pace than mine and if we’re in a hurry my mind can’t keep up with him but I’m confident enough in his ability to manoeuvre us both that I don’t even try to keep up with his world, I just reach out for the firm grip of his hand and away we go.

          This is basically how I planned to make my way through on Saturday night, we’d find a table where Hubby could watch the match and a protective seat where someone like me, who has no interest what so ever in watching two grown men beat each other to a pulp in the name of entertainment, could log onto the Wi-Fi and spend a few hours at a much quieter, slower pace online.

          There’s one of those four lettered words again… PLAN… I’m not usually one for a hard, fast plan, I usually go more for “progressive planning”, otherwise known as “make it up as you go along”, so really I should have expected the quiet table to be non-existent, I should have expected the sea-side, food-serving pub to have booked in a party or two on a bank holiday Saturday evening, an 80th birthday?  an 18th?  a hen night?… Or, as was the case here, all three.

          Hubby found us a space next to a post where he could see a TV through the archway and I could stand in close to the… banister rail would be the best way to describe it I think… Three gentlemen of short, stocky stature…  (although, to be fair, they might not have been that short, they were seated)… were seated in front of us, their chair backs up against our banister rail and in their musical Welsh accents they discussed the entertainment to come.  All was not well with the world, but in my little part of it, it was well enough for my bodily existence to feel secure enough for my mind to wander elsewhere.

          The hen party, whether by design or accident, left shortly before the boxing match started and somehow we secured two chairs at their vacated table.  The new position wasn’t quite as safe feeling as our little banister in the archway, but after our day’s wanderings between Weymouth and Portland, my feet very much welcomed the chair.  My chair, not a straight up and down backed dining chair, was more of a cupped shaped seat, with my own little bannister protecting my space so I stretched my feet out under the table and unlocked my phone.

          Hmmn…  No signal.

          Ok, no problem, the main part of the pub was at basement level, under the tall buildings above, not below sea-level,  but definitely below street-level so I accepted that my phone’s signal might not make it through. I’d use the pub’s WiFi.

           No WiFi…  Or at least, not enough strength in the WiFi signal to reach to this end of the building… No signal… No WiFi…  No escape…

          The crowd around me thickened and became louder as the fight started. Chants of “hit him” filled the air as waves of anticipation and disappointment took hold.

          I pulled my chair tighter into the table and huddled nearer to Hubby.  A bad move on my part as the crowd behind me moved forward for a better view. 

          I tapped into my phone and pulled up the one game I have stored on its limited memory.  Mahjong, a sort of pairs game played with tiles and strategy.  There was no strategy at all as my fingers poked at random tiles, searching for the calmness of the hidden world in my mind, the world I slip into all too often with no effort at all.

          With the cheers of the ever thickening crowds ringing in my ears I found the way in, I made a conscious effort to dull the sounds of reality and my mind took a sudden lurch towards the hidden world inside my head…

          … “Hit him!”…

          … The words drifted in with me…

          … “Fight… Fight”…

         My mind jolted, as if hit from the side and with another lurch landed in another, all too familiar place.

          …”Fight… Fight”…

          … The crowd closed into an inescapable circle and at the centre the school bully laid into an altogether weaker personality…

         … Cheers filtered through to my mind, the crowd started to disperse.  My hand hurt from the white-knuckled grip on my phone, but I had no cuts or grazes, no torn school uniform or broken glasses.

          I remembered to breathe, I put on my jacket and Hubby steered me through the much quieter pub and out into the night air.

          We emerged onto the promenade where the wind wrapped my hair about my face and the waves crashed into huge white horses on the tiny pebbles, for once it was more peaceful in reality than in the hidden world which is my mind.

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          I wonder if the school bully has any idea of what she did to me, after the scrapes and bruises faded, the only scars left were inside my mind.  The shame of not being able to protect myself, the fear of stepping outside of my comfort zone, of risking a situation I can’t control and of not having the strength to change it.

          These feelings and thoughts are part of my everyday life, mostly, they’ve become small, insignificant thoughts and feelings over time.

          I grew older and had children of my own, the mother in me now over-rules the small pathetic child.  The need in me to protect my girls has shown me that I am often much more than I used to be but I do worry from time to time, as I slip towards old age and a “second childhood” that the scars are still there. 

          More from before : Delving into the murky depths of my “Memory Vaults

ANT Memories

          I remember a cafe in a small seaside town.  I remember a little fourteen year old girl, very shy, bullied at school, trying to blend in and hide in the shadows of the brighter stars in the school yard.

          I remember working at the cafe, a few hours on either a Saturday morning or afternoon and one evening a week after school. The bullies still found me after school, they found me out and about in town and sometimes after work, but they never ventured into “my café”.

          I remember one older girl who worked in my café too, I don’t remember her name or her face, I remember she was slim, and wore jeans and a t-shirt under her apron.  She may have been pretty, she may not, but to me at that time she was the most beautiful person in the world.

          She took this shy timid fourteen year old under her wing.  She showed me the ropes, gave me the confidence to handle the tired Saturday shoppers,  the ability to hold my own with the teenagers who came in of an evening to drink fizzy drinks and play the game machines.

          I don’t remember much of her at all, but I remember when ADAM ANT came on the radio she would turn up the volume and staff and regular customers alike would belt out the words of her Prince Charming “ridicule is nothing to be scared of”

IMG_9131. ADAM ANT.

IMG_9129. Ant, guitar & drums.

          At REWIND over the weekend, ADAM ANT topped the bill on the second day and Ant music filled the air.

IMG_9137. Ant people.

IMG_9138. ADAM, big screen.

          Adam Ant has had a rather rocky relationship with his sanity over the years but managed to do his act with enough togetherness to play at REWIND this year. Even though I can only recall three of his songs, and even then only sing along to the chorus. I still waited through the whole of Sunday afternoon in the pouring rain to share the moment and show support to someone who has no idea how much his words helped this timid fourteen year old all those years ago.

IMG_9139. Ant, big screen.

           More from before : Relax and “REWIND 2015” or “REWIND 2016“.