Something New

“Maybe I ain’t too old to start over, I think and I laugh and cry at the same time at this. Cause just last night I thought I was finished with everything new.”

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

private terraceLast week I mentioned that our flat has had a makeover.

It’s looking gorgeous.

This week I’ll let you in on a new development – we are selling!

It’s just over a year since we disbanded our company office at Putney Bridge and retreated into our various cubby holes to try and do work, do life and stay safe. Continue reading Something New

Hello!

“Time is a slippery thing: lose hold of it once, and its string might sail out of your hands forever.”

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

There’s a sentimental ditty by Neil Diamond, called ‘Hello’:

“Hello, my friend, hello
Just called to let you know
I think about you every night
And I know it’s late but I could’t wait
Hello”

It makes me a little tearful because my Dad loved Neil Diamond, and he’s gone too far away to make contact with. But also because I’m a sucker for an old ballad.

You know when you have an old friend or relative that you get on very well with, but you hardly ever see? Continue reading Hello!

Isolation – Day 4

“‘There’s no end to this tunnel,”‘ said Peter; ‘everything has an end, and you get to it if you only keep all on.’ Which is quite true, if you come to think of it, and a useful thing to remember in seasons of trouble – such as measles, arithmetic, impositions, and those times when you are in disgrace, and feel as though no one would ever love you again, and you could never – never again – love anybody.”

The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit

Having spent a glorious, somewhat truncated 3 and 3/4 months in in the beloved country, we sadly had to make a dash for the border on Friday.

BBC News had been ‘ranting’, for a few weeks, about the 77 cases (now 113) of South African COVID variant found in the UK. And then, about a week ago, the rant took an ugly turn. Suddenly there was talk of hotel quarantines, Biden closed US borders to South Africans, Emirates followed suit, KLM and Lufhansa also freaked out – and so did Hubby.

So we planned our escape via Doha on Qatar Airlines.

Continue reading Isolation – Day 4

Untouchable

“I am now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country or town. A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself.”

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte


I’ve just completed 10 day’s of isolation for a really serious bout of asymptomatic COVID-19.

Exposure date: approx 2nd or 3rd Dec 2020 (either in the DRC or on the return flight via Addis Ababa)

Test date: 8th Dec 2020

End of 10 day isolation: 17th Dec 2020

Oh that stomach-drop feeling when you test positive for COVID-19! I can still feel it when I think back to that moment.

Continue reading Untouchable

Logical

“I know what you’re thinking about,” said Tweedledum: “but it isn’t so, nohow.” “Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be: but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carrol

What a crazy just-over-a-week we’ve had!

Hubby and I went to the DRC (République démocratique du Congo) on business last week. We travelled there to attend a vessel christening ceremony for a Belgian-owned dredger based in Argentina, which we sold to the DRC. It’s been a long, difficult 3 year deal which I’ve alluded to in previous blogs. But, PRAISE GOD, it’s now sold and we’ve earned our commission. This is no small thing to celebrate.

The DRC is a country alive with colour, bustle, people, bananas, pot holes, palm trees and the big, beautiful Congo River running all the way through it.

It is also, as it transpires, heaving with COVID-19 – but that’s another story.

Continue reading Logical

Power Play

“It was two o’clock in the afternoon – impossible to see anything without a light. Villagers with lanterns were busy on the ice: great icebergs drifting near the coast were now imprisoned by the freeze; using an ice knife (a sort of chisel with a long wooden handle), they broke off big lumps which they loaded on their sledges to be melted down at home for drinking water.”

An African in Greenland by Tété-Michel Kpomassie

6 weeks we have been in South Africa now.

Trying to work here remotely, has been a fight against the odds, but I think we are winning.

I have been reading Tété-Michel Kpomassie’s amazing journey from Togo to Greenland in the 1960’s and his account of living with the Eskimos, enduring the polar nights, melting icebergs for water and battling the elements.

Our battle, though different of course, has also been rather dramatic.

Continue reading Power Play

We made it!

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Where to start?

We made it to South Africa.

Even in COVID-times, a smidge of determination will get you places.

This is how we did it … Continue reading We made it!

Help me interpret my crazy dream

“The inescapable fact is that the brain is an unnerving place as well as a marvellous one. There seems to be an almost limitless number of curious or bizarre syndromes and conditions. Anton-Babinski syndrome, for instance, is a condition in which people are blind but refuse to believe it. Capgras syndrome is a condition in which sufferers become convinced that those they know well are imposters. Perhaps the most bizarre of all is Cotard delusion, in which the sufferer believes he is dead and cannot be convinced otherwise.”

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson

The bodyNo, it’s not an ABBA song and no I’m not Martin Luther King Jr … still … I had a dream. How are you at dream interpretation?

One night in December 2019…

My dream started with me standing at one of 3 turnstiles in a dilapidated building.

People came and went through the turnstiles on either side of me. I watched as a woman walked up to the turnstile on my left, picked up a rock and used it to ‘buzz’ herself through. She replaced it neatly on the opposite side for someone, leaving the building, to use on their way out. Similarly, a man walked up to the turnstile on my right, picked up a slightly different object (a fossil or a large shell?) and did the same.

A few people passed in and out of the turnstiles in this way. So I did the same. Continue reading Help me interpret my crazy dream

On account of COVID-19

There was an old lady“There was an old lady who swallowed a cow;
I don’t know how she swallowed a cow!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her!
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly;
I don’t know why she swallowed a fly – Perhaps she’ll die!
There was an old lady who swallowed a horse;
…She’s dead, of course!”

I Know an Old Lady, definitive version by Rose Bonne 1952 Continue reading On account of COVID-19

Ramblings in Kingston-upon-Hull

“I’m going to buy buns for tea,” said Peter. “I thought you were all so poor,” said the Station Master. “So we are,” said Peter, confidentially, “but we always have three pennyworth of halfpennies for tea whenever Mother sells a story or a poem or anything.”

The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

Youngest niece
Tenacious

Last weekend we took our first road trip of the year – to visit my family in Kingston-upon-Hull (our 13-year-old-niece informed us that only a ‘southerner’ would call Hull, Kingston-upon-Hull locals call it ‘ull.)

It was wonderful to see our nieces who have all grown up and changed considerably since we saw them last at Christmas. Even the littlest one has progressed from terror to just tenacious. And I’m pleased to report that my little northern family has flourished over the COVID lockdown. For all sorts of reasons it’s been good for them as a family and of course it’s been a long hot summer for the girls, and conducive to good veggie-growing on their allotment.

All these things warm this aunty’s heart. Continue reading Ramblings in Kingston-upon-Hull