Blog 125 – 14.12.19. Over to you God….

Strictly Come Dancing is one of my favourite TV programmes…guaranteed to make me feel good. Love seeing people blossom and move towards being their best each week. Ooo…and Darling Buds of May of course. We get the box set out and watch a young Catherine Zeta Jones and David Jason (in an idyllic perpetual summer some time after WWII) for instant feel good.

But I’m sad. So sad we are leaving the E.U. Not even the joy of the Strictly final is really doing it for me. The decorations have gone up and I foraged enough foliage to make a Christmas wreath….trying to crank up some festive spirit. There will be a lot to do before we finally fully depart…but the people have shouted their final answer. If only the politicians had offered them an acceptable form of Proportional Representation (PR) well before the 2016 referendum – given them a voice before they felt obliged to get angry and wreck the place.  It feels like the break-up of the UK is on the horizon – Northern Ireland will probably have to go because of the EU border problem (and possible re-kindling of IRA terrorism – EU legislation underpins the peace settlement), and Scotland may go because they overwhelmingly want to stay in Europe. I really will have to draw on my resilience reserves and talk to Him upstairs…He has a way of revealing the good things lurking under the seemingly bad. It’s all there in the Jesus story…hang a guy on a cross and watch him suffer and die painfully and slowly…..but because of that, we’re still hearing his teachings 2000 years later and slowly realising the higher magic that means there is no death and nothing to fear. Over to you God.

On Thursday morning, I met 78 year old Jennifer on the streets of Islington, quietly shouting for help as 2 wheels fell off her shopping trolley. Jennifer looks closer to 90 and  wears a tatty coat with holes in it and lives in a very cold, dirty council flat on her own. She can’t actually walk very far without the support of the trolley…but it’s not meant for this purpose and so the wheels break. I stop the car, do a U-turn and after realising the trolley is not repairable, stuff the broken trolley and Jennifer in the car (with difficulty as she can barely move) and drive her 600 yards round the corner to her flat. I pop back to her flat that evening having bought her a new trolley, as she quite clearly has little cash and cannot move without the trolley. But feisty Jennifer has beaten me to it. She invites me in to a grubby kitchen for a cup of coffee and explains that after I’d dropped her home, she was in a tizz…but she phoned a friend and remembered where she bought the old shopping trolley. She raided her savings, ordered a cab and managed to purchase a new one. I’m very, very impressed. I’m impressed at her independence and spirit. She’s very happy that I’m impressed. We talk for a while and she tells me about her love of the Harry Potter books and then relates a very good story she has made up about Hagrid. I tell her she must write her stories down, but she is waiting for a cataract operation – until then she cannot see to write. I would like to think our new government will not neglect the Jennifers…but I fear rampant deregulation (favouring his business chums) and a dire trade deal with Mr. Trump may be Boris’s priority. I’m hopeful that Boris will prove me wrong, as the landslide victory is humbling and might persuade him not to trample over the trust placed in him by people who have never previously put their cross against the name of a Tory candidate.

Phew. Roll on 2020 (vision). May I suggest, dear reader, that you turn off the news and enjoy your Christmas!

 

Xmas wreath 14.12.19

jx

 

 

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Blog 124 -19.10.19. Brexit: will we turn back from a Neanderthal future?

My husband and I are gobsmacked. Stunned almost into silence. We have just found out that the son of a friend of ours, is no longer vegan. This chap had quite a following on Youtube, championing veganism, interviewing vegan strong-men and generally trying to persuade the world that eating meat is a sin, against animals, our health and the environment.

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Blog 123 – 27.9.19. Español 5: El Último post de Barcelona.

It’s the último day of school for me, and after our final classes…which most other students have decided to skip, Valentina takes some selfies of us, making sure, as usual, to modify them so she looks pale and almost manga-cartoon-like (large eyes, small pointy nose). Continue reading

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Blog 122 – 25.9.19. Español 4: How to stay out of hot water…

Architect Antoni Gaudi has without doubt, given Barcelona its unique brand. And as a person interested in cities, architecture and buildings, and what makes them work, I decide to check out La Pedrera…aka Casa Mila..an apartment building built by Gaudi in the early 1900s for the Mila family… Continue reading

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Blog 121 – 24.9.19. Español 3: Learning all about…China…

I am torn between joining in the party atmosphere of Barcelona’s La Mercè festival…and escaping from it. During the full day off from school, I spend some time on a near-deserted hotel roof-top where they seem happy to have me, even though I’m not a guest. Continue reading

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Blog 120 -20.9.19. Español 2: Pah! mi amigo – who needs friends…?

Learning. I know that the thing I have to learn about learning is that you learn nothing if you don’t try, especially in language. If you are scared of making mistakes, you don’t learn anything at all…you are literally and metaphorically dumb by refusing to speak… Continue reading

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Blog 119 – 18.9.19. Espanol 1 – Hola! Barcelona.

I am staying almost within spitting distance of La Sagrada Familia – the Cathedral/Basilica designed (in the 19th century) and partially built by architect Antoni Gaudi (they are still building it). Awesome is a well over-used word that should probably be reserved only for the Grand Canyons of the natural world; however, Continue reading

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Blog 118 – 13.9.19. It’s only Spanish!

It’s that time again. Time to do something scary. I read somewhere that you should do something scary once a day. This, of course, is not for me. Peace, comfort and predictability..that’s my scene… Continue reading

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Blog 117 – 26.7.19. I have confidence in me!

We have had the hottest July day on record folks…luckily in the UK that doesn’t mean we should panic…’cos the weather will change…quite quickly (tick)…and there will be rain (tick)…and thunder (tick)… Continue reading

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Blog 116 – 13.5.19…Now, now…

I love it when one of the tenants sends me a text. No I don’t…that’s rubbish. When I get a text late at night about an over-flowing washing machine or a broken light – it’s my job, but it’s not really welcome. But I love it when they say (after newly moved in) ‘I’m so happy!!’ …or (as happened yesterday) I get 3 picture messages in succession – one proudly showing flowers gathered from the garden and 2 showing ‘before’ and ‘after’ mowing the lawn!…Yay! the tenant is happy!!

Last week me and Mom went to Sainsbury’s for a few groceries. This turned in to a 2-3 hour trip….Mom looked at her shopping list, (bread, onions, chicken, shower gel, fruit, vegetables, rice, potatoes, washing-up liquid)…but without her glasses, she couldn’t see it. She pushed the trolley, I followed her around. She walks very slowly and forgets what she has already put in the trolley. A few weeks ago, she watched the TV as Extinction Rebellion went on the march in central London (OK…they blocked the road while they had a party). I told her that husband and I were going to join them. Are you going to get arrested? she asked, excitedly. I hope so, I replied.  When shopping my mum’s policy is a good one – quality, but at a bargain price. But in Sainsbury’s I noticed a shift in her attitude….the £1.00 bottle of her usual Fairy Liquid was eschewed for the £1.75 bottle of Ecover washing-up liquid…it’s better for the environment, she said. And in the end….she decided it was better to use (paper-wrapped) soap bars instead of plastic bottles full of shower gel. I’m impressed. She stopped dead, near the spices, and picked up a pack of nectarines from her trolley like she’d seen something alien….what is this? Without her glasses she couldn’t see that she was looking at the back of the black cardboard tray, and not the nectarines inside it. We both fell about laughing.

I’ve just sussed why people (including me) like spending time with young children and the elderly…for the most part, they are right here, in the only time worth wasting time in, i.e Now…and they are looking to have fun!

 

jx

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