Wednesday 23 February 2022


Last week I had a drink with my dear friends upstairs who were, respectively, 80 and 50 within three days of each other. The older one was, understandably, less excited about celebrating his birthday than the 50 year old.

You might assume that this lack of enthusiasm is because of his age, but in fact my mum, who will be 94 this year, loves celebrating her birthday. So I think it's maybe partly male/female attitudes, but also that some of us are glass half full and some are half empty.

Personally, I think well let's celebrate being here. Having made another year. Enjoying time with my nearest and dearest. Yes, I'm another year older, but that's an achievement, for all those that haven't made it this far.

I don't like parties, much, so I'd rather spread my birthday out and celebrate with one or two friends at a time. For instance, mine is next Monday and Jac and I were due to be in Devon, and were going to take my mum out for lunch. That isn't happening now, so I thought I'd have a quiet day with the Fella. Looks like not - first of all another writer friend emailed me to say that an author is giving a talk at the Falmouth Bookseller on his novel which is set in Cornwall. It's at 6pm, is free and we get a glass of wine, so of course it would be rude not to go.

Then Jac - who is cautiously improving - said, "I've got to see you on your birthday," so we've arranged to meet for a coffee in the afternoon as she may not be able to walk far.

Then another friend said several of us should meet for a drink after the talk I'm going to. This is all getting rather complicated and, I think, could be exhausting, so I may change that last one to later in the week. Another friend is taking me to Lamorna Pottery another day that week - you see what i mean about spreading it out? That means I get to have lots of little celebrations. And really one of my favourite ways to celebrate is with good friends, an interesting walk and a coffee and cake half way through.

But how lucky am I to have such dear mates who want to celebrate my birthday with me?

Thursday 17 February 2022

Patience and Postponed holidays

I am not renowned for my patience, as my friends know. When buying something online I tend to skim the details, say "that'll do" and click Buy. It was the same with swapping the van for a smaller, older car. We test drove this car and I said, "That'll do." My fella said, "But you've only driven this one - don't you want to try any more?" I said No and that was that. This does not, of course, always result in good buys. M says read the reviews, so I have been doing that, but it's very against my nature.

To continue the Patience theme, my dear mate Jac and I were supposed to be on holiday in Devon this week. Well, given the weather that's no bad thing but even so, the holiday was postponed from September when she broke her shoulder. Two weeks ago she contracted a virus that makes covid look like a walk in the park and she has been in bed ever since which is unheard of. And as an ex-nurse she says she makes a very bad patient....

She's still no better, despite two lots of antibiotics and so we've had to postpone our holiday for the third time - now till the end of March. We were due to go at the end of February and take my mum out for lunch on my birthday, but that isn't going to happen as Jac's not well enough to get out of bed, let alone go away.

If I was a religious person, I'd pray, but I'm not. Still, let's hope that this bloody virus will leave her alone very soon and so she can start to improve and enjoy life again. I'm inwardly screaming on her behalf - so if anyone needs patience, it's her. Or perhaps that should be me...

In the meantime, here's a soothing picture from Tremayne Quay, taken at the weekend...

Tuesday 8 February 2022

Two steps forward, one step back

Until I had a reactive dog like Lainy I would look at other people whose dogs were barking and lunging and going bonkers and think, as many others do, “Why can’t they control their dog?”

Now, I realise that it’s not that simple.

I was listening to a video by Susan Garrett the other day on this topic which was invaluable. From her I learned that there are four basic reactions to frustration - and we are the same as dogs in this respect. Rage, suppression, persistence or regression (doing what worked the first time we got frustrated).

Imagine you’ve had a really bad week and it comes to Friday, and you’re knackered, have to do the shopping and decide to treat yourself to a nice bottle of wine - or whatever. On the way out, one of the shopping bags slips and your precious much looked forward to bottle (or whatever) smashes on the floor. Your treat lies in a pool of undrinkable wine and shards of glass. Some bright spark comes along and says, “Cheer up love, it may never happen,” and you shout, “It already has!” They sound affronted and say, “Calm down, love,” which actually makes it worse…… and on it goes.

Dogs are the same - if they overreact and we get tense, shout at them, or tug or try and control them, it doesn’t help - they’re flooded with adrenaline so they can’t respond.

It requires patience, training, persistence and lots of love to deal with a reactive being, whether it’s four legged or two. It can be frustrating, bloody hard work and there are times when I could howl with exhaustion. On the other hand, when she gains confidence and becomes more relaxed and doesn’t need to over react, it’s fantastic and makes it all worthwhile.

I love Lainy to bits and she has come so far, but sometimes, as happened last weekend, we had a few incidents and I was beside myself and thought, “Oh GOD, Lainy!”

Talking to my dear friend Av later, she said, “But she’s come so far, you know she has. It’s two steps forward and one step back” and I nearly wept - because she understood.

Other people don’t know about the steps forward, they only see the step back. So next time you see a person, or someone with a dog who’s over reacting, don’t react like I used to do - think of what happens behind the scenes.

Wednesday 2 February 2022

Who'd buy a new (secondhand) car ....

This was taken at Lizard Point on Monday after a busy day looking for used cars. Afterwards, we (and the dogs) badly needed food then a relaxing walk in beautiful surroundings, and this was taken at the old lifeboat station, the picture taken just before the sun started setting. A perfect antidote to the day.

Actually it hadn't been too bad, but as I know nothing about cars, I'm always wary. I just want four wheels that are reliable and economical and I don't mind what it looks like - I just don't want to have to worry about it. And of course, having my fella there helped no end. You can almost see people's eyes light up when they see Single Woman On their Own approaching..

We've had a few hiccups since I saw the car on Monday, but fingers crossed, I can swap over cars on Friday. As a friend said yesterday, "It will be strange seeing you drive a normal car!" - I've driven a van for about 15 years now and I did love my old van, but they are no longer economical and the tax and insurance are high, so I need to down downsize accordingly.

You might think that this has nothing to do with writing. Well, it does as hunting for cars and dealing with all the adnim involved takes away writing time - though I have found I can edit better at my fella's house as there are none of the other zillion things that need doing at home. I had a really good morning's editing yesterday, and despite having spent nearly all this morning sorting out insurance, tax etc. and now writing this, a car is vital to me and Lainy so it's be a huge relief to get that sorted.

Last night I had a Zoom call with some of the other writers I went to Spain with two years ago (what a thought - two whole years!) and it was great to discuss problems with our novels, what we should do, how to sort them etc. And now, when I've finished writing this, I can finally get on with editing.

Here's to a good week for everyone - the sun actually appeared for five minutes just now. It's gone again, but a brief sighting made all the difference, though Lainy doesn't care. She just sleeps through all the hassle...