Saturday, May 27, 2006


BUTTERFLY 6th July ‘06

After lunch today Joy and I sat outside on the swinging sofa, I love sitting there, in any kind of weather; it's under the porch, and so vertical rain doesn't get you. The rain had stopped and the grass was dry. Suddenly, we were dive-bombed by a butterfly. I've been trying to get a photograph of one all year but they never stop in this garden; they fly through as if their very lives depended on it, so this one took us completely by surprise. It landed on the wheelchair and let me take loads of photos...even turned around in a complete circle for me. Then it flew on to the window frame and showed me its full wingspan from the back. After that it flew round and around me, landing on my skirt, then finally settled on Joy's hand. It stayed there for ages and allowed me to keep snapping moved up to her arm and I continued. All the time the camera was only a couple of inches away; it wasn't bothered at all by the noise of the machine. I couldn't believe this beautiful creature. Why was it so tame? I wondered if it had escaped from a butterfly farm or something.


A friend of the family sent Joy a book with a great title, 'ALL IN THE END IS HARVEST', an anthology of writings and verse for those who grieve. There are some little gems in favourite is: 'Look to this day!

...for yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision, but today, well-lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow, a vision of hope...'
From the Sanskrit (author & translator unknown)

Thinking about the butterfly; some people will believe that it was the reincarnation of Peter - now he has joined the real people, the dead, he can have his real name - Gent will now be known as Pete.

Friday, May 26, 2006


I moved to another blog for a while but didn't like it; trying to fit in some things from a later date.


I imagine there's a queue...
perhaps a light flashes
when it's your turn...and
it must be worth it -
why else would we wait
with broken and worn bodies?
We do have time to stand and stare.

This man Pete waited and waited.
When he moved he creaked, like
an old grandfather wardrobe,
joints well past their sell-by date.
He'll be glad to march
into the next world, kneel
in that great garden, prune
a multitude of fruit bushes.

The people he leaves behind
will arrive on his new doorstep
one day, and he will down tools, laughing
'I've been waiting for you!' 


The funeral was the other day, Thursday, and it all passed without a hitch. Two days earlier, when we were cutting flowers for the florist, Joy had a little weep for the first time. She asked me when Gent was coming and I had to tell her that he had gone, that he was up there in heaven waiting for her. That was the first time it had really sunk in. So we both had a little cry and I wheeled her out to the garden so the others could share in the moment (the others being, the Australian contingent of the family).

She hasn't done anything like it since. She answered questions as if she knew what was going on, and that Gent was really dead and that this was his funeral, but there was no emotion. The funeral service was wonderful. It was done by the local vicar who had seen to Gent while he was in hospital, so he knew him pretty well; and a while ago, the church had got Gent to do a potted biography; everyone was riveted - what an interesting and worthwhile life he led. This was the first church service that I've ever enjoyed; there were a lot of deep silences, where you could spread out your mind, just meditate and relax into the wonderful atmosphere. He did this at the crematorium and the thanksgiving services. All the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren stood up to say something; there were lots of tears but all of them conquered their emotions to make us all smile and laugh at the funny stories and glimpses into the family life. I don't know how well Joy could hear; she has a huge problem with background noise, and seems very deaf, when she isn't normally.

When we left the church at Ottery St Mary, and stood outside, the bells tolled especially for Gent. The sun was beating down and people were patting shoulders and hugging, comforting each other, relieved that it was all over. Joy sat in her wheelchair, smiling and gracious with anyone who was brave enough to come over and re-introduce themselves. I think there was about 150 people there - he was well-loved, and a pretty important man in the area. He had an OBE and a CBE and the title of Brigadier, and he had done so much in his life for a great many people. He will be sadly missed. Joy is aware that there is something missing in her life, but not quite sure just what it is.

Well, now it's just me and Joy. The last of the family went home today and Joy immediately reverted to her usual bedtime, which is as soon as possible - half past six tonight, but she has had a wild time this past week. Some days I couldn't get her to have an afternoon nap, 'No, I don't want to leave all this,' she would say, 'I'm not leaving the party.' We'd finally persuade her a little while later. She is so stimulated when they are all around, but when it gets too noisy she wants to leave. This time last year she couldn't bear to have people in the room; she'd get up and storm off and I'd have to go after her; she'd be in bed with all her clothes on, even shoes. One of her granddaughters got very upset. Joy kept saying to me, 'Who are all these people, why don't they go?' But now she loves it all!

Thursday, May 25, 2006


I took Joy out in the garden today, to catch a breath of the lovely sunshine before the rain reappeared. It was a wonderful day; we were deluged with rain all day yesterday. Everything was thickly coloured, deep greens and reds, with a splash of yellow and the lilac nodding in the background. I'm going to practise creating a floral tribute for the thanksgiving service in the church; I want something from Gent's garden - he loved it. The weather is so changeable right now and we couldn't depend on getting the main arrangement from here, but there's no reason why we can't have a little something. I've never done flower arranging, but I'm sure I'll be able to create an attractive display.

When we were out there, Joy asked me when Gent was coming home; she wanted him to see his garden. I choked and put my hands on her shoulders, 'Oh sweetie, he's gone,' I told her. I couldn't get the lump out of my throat to say anymore. She does this every day and has to be told again and again, but even then....I don't think she actually believes us. It's not that it isn't sinking in; I think it's a case of her thinking that we're wrong and that he'll be alright, and will rally like he always does.

She's a lot better than she was last month; I think that all that hospital visiting every day had worn her out. I really thought that she was at Death's door, but now, she's not nearly so breathless when walking. I don't know how she'll cope with the funeral - which isn't till 8th June. Just the thought of all those people giving her sympathy and all that stuff; she won't understand. She doesn't even recognise the cards...thinks they're for a birthday or something.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006



We watched this little group, on our way down to the beach; they were working at the side of the wooden pathway through the dunes. There were three or four of them trying to move this big piece of wood, which would seem like a tree to them!


There were loads of these in the scrub grass on the sand dunes. I love the tracks he made across the sand.


If I'd seen this fish die I might have taken it home to cook! It was just lying at the water's edge... the waves were trying to pull it back. The feet belong to Bouncer and Shouts At The Sea.


I couldn't finish it! None of us finished what we ordered; the portions were huge. I just wanted the kids to be overwhelmed by ice-cream!


And boy did we need one after a whole day in the heat of spain beneath a marquee with only open flaps as air-conditioning!


I took my jewelled Spanish shoes over to Devon to amuse Joy. I sit in Gent's chair and raise the foot rest; she always comments on my feet. She loves these shoes and my blue-painted toenails.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Am in this pretty expensive net cafe; 1 euro for 15 mins, and it just clicks off when the time is up though it does give you a minute´s warning! We´ve been helping Lulu with the exhibition. Very busy, and loads of interest in the wonderful showers. I want one. I´m going to have one in my flat in Glasgow as soon as I can arrange it; as soon as I can afford it because I´ve spent it up this last 3 weeks - am scared to look in the bank to see just how much money I don´t have anymore! These showers have steam and whirlpool baths in some of them, and foot massage and music and you can answer your phone hands-free! They have all kinds of jets and rain shower and temperature control. I REALLY WANT ONE.

It´s been pretty hot here, and spending all day in a huge marquet tent is no picnic...and they don´t have coffee anywhere near! We took a kettle with us today and got one cup. When I went to make more later the electric wouldn´t let us; it goes on and off all day. And, apparently it can´t take the power of an electric kettle.

Well, gotta go...time´s up.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Gent died a couple of days ago...just gently floated off in his sleep. He was in hospital; never got home at all. In the end he was too poorly to be moved. I´m back there on Monday night. Fi is better than I´d have expected, but we both had a little cry over the phone the other night. I find it really hard to talk on the phone at these times. I can talk face to face, usually with the odd choke and sniffle, but the phone just takes my voice away and I can only nod. The funeral will be next week so I´ll have to be there. Another one to add to my already long list.

Monday, May 15, 2006


I spent all day yesterday watching movies on the DVD. There really is more than a bit of the hermit in me. Lulu was out with a nice man, so I had the house to myself all day and night.

At the end of the visit I came up with a new name for those two grandsons: No1 will now be known as BOUNCER because he upsets my equalibrium with all that movement. The other day he actually made me feel sick, and dizzy. No2 is now SHOUTS AT THE SEA; we had an hysterical evening last week as we walked along the shoreline...Bouncer raced way ahead of us but Shouts At The Sea was standing like a boxer, facing the water and roaring at it. I don´t know what he was shouting but it was fantastic. He shook his fists; a little 8 year old in a navy T-shirt and pants, facing the wild waves, and speaking his mind. We asked him what he was shouting but I´ve forgotten now.

It´s scorching today, people in the sea as we passed at 10am. We went to Santa Pola to buy nice bathroom goodies to dress the set for the exhibition at the weekend. Lulu´s got 3 shower units coming over tomorrow, so I think she´ll do well; nothing like real examples to encourage buyers. I thought smells would work on the senses so we got nice dishes to hold perfumed soaps and bath bombs, with pebbles and all sorts. Looking for bright blue towels now.

It´s Chris´birthday and we´re taking her out for a meal tonight as a surprise, to a great little restaurant up in Gran Alicant called La Palma; it does a wonderful Sunday lunch. The decor is modern, spacious and minimalist; very pleasant family-run place, and resonable prices. So, looking forward to good food, but it´s breaking into my hermit-time.

Lush is doing well; complaining about all sorts, but fine really. She might be out tomorrow, then it´ll be all hands on deck to look after her and keep her company. I know that I´m Lush-sitting on Saturday night, because Bitsy has to go back to see to her very sick dog and Bunny is working at the Santa Pola Palace. I promised I´d make her a curry and Chris is planning a cottage pie one day.

Poor old Bitsy; her dog is 15 and in very bad health. The vet thinks he might have a tumour in his leg and is doing a biopsy today. She and I went to Elche to see Lush yesterday and on the way back we saw a little cart pulled by a donkey, on the main dual-carriagway, but the driver was talking on a mobile phone! It just looked so strange; the old and the new world. I didn´t have the camera, and I was driving anyway. Something else happened that I said I was going to put in the blog but I can´t remember what it was now...must ask Bitsy.

Lulu and Chris are going to share a new house from next month, but I´ll keep ours on for June because Carrie is coming, and we´ll have more room, and there isn´t much time now to give the landlord proper notice - I don´t want to jeopardise my 2 months deposit! Now that it´s coming nearer I´m wishing in some ways to stay here, but I know that it´s time to move on. I´m just laying about here watching movies and reading. I really need to make myself work. I´ve been writing in my head this week and the novel has taken another battering; I´ve changed the format again! Will I ever get this bloody thing finished? Well, I might if I actually did any work on it.

Gotta go write now.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


I´m in the internet cafe in Alicante with Bingo and the boyz. A lovely hot day. Took them to the castle today, really just for a photoshoot. They loved it. What a fantastic view; 360º all around the city and the bay. Beautiful blue sea today, and clear enough for a good picture. Bingo was as nervous as Carrie when I took them up top; there´s just a low wall around and a drop of hundreds of feet. If that was Britain it would be railed and fenced off like a prison and you wouldn´t get such a clear view. It is stunning. I took them to see the huge, ancient yew trees (well I think they´re yew trees) with all the bits growing down as well as up and out. They look like old grumbly men wearing a multitude of robes draped across their arms.

The kids have had a wonderful time. They´ve done something different every day and watched a new DVD every night before bed, and they´ve been very well-behaved, for them. We´ve eaten out at least once every day and sat around the table every night on our terrace. Sometimes I just like to put pots of food on the table with spoons in so they can all just get stuck in. Got a great photo the other night of curry faces. Will post some photos when I get the chance to take the laptop up to the other internet cafe. Going to be busy helping Lulu with this exhibition she´s taken a stand with for next weekend. Busy helping her work out a logo and business postcards to give away.

My sister-in-law, Sid had her baby yesterday; another boy! I wanted her to have a girl. Never mind - one more man in the world. Lush had her operation on Tuesday and is doing well. I haven´t seen her, Lulu and Bitsy are going today. Bunny has been great; she´s done all the running about for paperwork and legal stuff, and she sat with Lush the whole day after the op, till late. I hope this heals their friendship; they were at loggerheads and barely speaking before this happened.

I called Fi last week and she said the hoist was there and that Gent was coming out on Monday. I´m sure she´d have called me if anything untoward happened.

Got to go catch the bus now, back to lovely Arenales. Bingo is desperate to finish her book. I finished mine last night; a great read. It was written by John Twelve Hawks, I think, might just have to check that...and is the first part of a trilogy, so I´ll be looking out for the next one soon.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Poor old Bingo waited and waited for her passport but nothing happend. She called the Scottish office on Saturday and they said that the courier delivered up until 6pm. When it hadn´t arrived by 5pm she called them again and they put her through to the courier. He told her that he had her passport and would be with her before 8pm and to keep her phone on. They called her an hour later to tell her that they´d broken down! The van was on the back of a truck. But they assured her that they´d get it to her the next morning by 10am. She reminded them that she was travelling around noon!

Twenty minutes to ten, they arrive in a taxi. All is well, Bingo informs me. An hour later she calls me to ask what name I put on the ticket for No1 grandson. Wrong name! Í thought you were changing his name,´ I said. ´Couldn´t find a justice of the peace,´ she said. This is 3 hours before the flight! So I had to call the airline; it was too late to just change the name on the ticket so we had to cancel his flight and make a new booking. I only got 10% back on the old flight, but the new flight was actually cheaper than the original so I only had to pay out 28 quid. It could´ve been a lot worse. Again, this bloody trip is costing me a fortune!

No1 grandson is Bingo´s son, and has a different name from the others. But Toctoc has been his father since he was a tiny baby.

Well, they´re here and having the time of their lives. They loved the flight, and a woman gave them 10 euros between them because they were so good. She must´ve been on some of the flights I´ve experienced where loads of kids scream and cry thoughout the whole flight!

Me and Bingo got sunburnt on the beach yesterday; it was a bit cloudy and I was late putting cream on and I didn´t know if Bingo had creamed up or not; she had fallen asleep and got the back of her legs and shoulders burnt. The kids were fine because we creamed them up carefully before we left the house.

The kids played with the little surfboards, wearing their goggles and air tubes, and all the paraphenalia. They loved the water. I took them for gigantic ice creams later and took photos. Just uploaded them to the computer - Í took 75 photos yesterday alone! Got lots of action stuff on the swings and seesaw. I hate posing photos; I like to get interesting shots. Sorry I can´t post any; Toctoc doesn´t want his kids appearing on the net.

We were knackered last night and were off to bed before 11pm, and I think the kids were asleep almost immediately. I´m reading a book called THE TRAVELLER forget who wrote it, but am enjoying it, though it´s pretty sci fi on the physics side. Toctoc would love it, if he read novels. My poor old tired eyes wouldn´t let me go more than a small chapter last night. Bingo has picked up THE WRONG BOY by Willie Russel and is loving is. I loved it too and have been trying to get Lulu to read it for ages.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Hola....the sun is shining again on spain! Lexy is leaving today so the sun has come back to apologise for the last week of awful weather and she´s grabbed a desperate hour on the beach. the car was like an oven, just the way we like it.

Bingo is bringing my two oldest grandsons out tomorrow. Passport problems abound; they should have got them done last year when I told them! (I haven´t worked out what I want to rename them so they are still N01 and No2) She had to pay fifty quid to upgrade N01´s passport and, travel down to Liverpool to collect it! So, his passport will have cost over one hundred and fifty pounds! And they were all fast-tracked by the post office! Bingo´s was supposed to be in Manchester getting printed, so hers is not here yet either; she called me ten mins ago, but I know that their postman doesn´t arrive till about now. I told her to go ask her neighbours if he´s been. What a farce. No2´s arrived over a week ago! This holiday is costing me a fortune.

We´re off to the quizz tonight in one of the ex-pat locals, Dick Turpin´s. Thursday night is darts night - men against women. The whole pub has to play, it´s great fun. The only thing I hate about it all is that these pubs are so small and the cigarette smoke so thick; I´m watching the clock, waiting till the entertainment is over so I can go home. The other night was pretty bad; even though windows and doors were open, I was surrounded by six smokers at my table alone. It was really hard to breathe all night and I was looking forward to leaving. So, after the darts I was watching the level of the drinks going down, and we´d been joined by a few friends. It was after midnight. I said it was time to go home but Lulu and Chris didn´t want to go. It had been decided earlier that I was driving, so Lulu was pretty pissed. She was urging me to stay for another drink, but by this time I was desperate to get out of there, so I said that I wanted to go home. I began to look like the party-pooper, there was silence and crumpled faces. Lulu took some of Chris´ beer. I told them that I couldn´t breathe, that I´d been watching the clock and really had to get out of there. I felt bad but I couldn´t stay. I then suggested that I might stay while they had another drink if they didn´t smoke...there was silence. Then Chris said that she didn´t want anyone telling her that she couldn´t smoke. I stood up then, and they had to follow.

I felt that they´d put me in an awful position. When you think about it; I´d sat, breathing their smoke for 3 hours but they wouldn´t sit in my non-smoking air for 5 minutes! I´m not imagining this...that is selfish. I spend a lot of time with smokers and never normally mind (whether I catch cancer or not) because that´s life. I´ve never given it all a moment´s thought. Smokers are selfish. These people are my friends; they profess to love me, but they apparently don´t give me, as a non-smoker, a moment´s thought - they won´t give up one cigarette for me.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Well, I arrived in spain to storms and the news that Lush has fallen and broken her hip! she´s in hospital in Elche. Lulu, Lexy and Bitsy met me at the airport. It was great to see Lexy; I haven´t seen her since last June - she´s so thin. She´s got a skinny arse, just like a bloke; no hips. We just went home and had a few glasses of wine and sat watching the lightening, trying unsuccessfully to catch it on camera.

Yesterday Lulu, Lexy, Bitsy, Chris and I drove through to Elche to see Lush. She was full of complaints. She´s got to get all the paperwork done before they can operate, and they´re a day behind on their list because of the Mayday holiday. So, it should be tomorrow; she´s on a morphine drip now and seems alright. She said, ´I must look a mess.´ I told her she looked okay and took a picture of her with my phone to show her, and she said, ´Christ I´m all double chins.´ I told her that I hadn´t taken the photo so she could say ´Do I look fat in this?´

We left Lush reclining in her traction and drove on to Guardamar to see the showroom that Lulu is setting up for her new business selling the fancy showers. Looking really good. Last time I saw it, in February, it was just a shell of a unit, just bricks and concrete. Now it´s got smooth walls and ceiling, a kitchen, toilet and beautiful shiny tiled floor. Lulu is almost a real business woman. We went next door to the lovely Chinese restaurant, THE WOK and had fab food. It´s a buffet and with the main course you fill your plate with the raw food, take it to the chef and he cooks it in the wok, with your choice of sauce; all fresh, hot and steaming. We couldn´t move afterwards. For sweet I had two icecreams...then Lexy came back with cheesecake, so I had to have some of that too!

Spent the rest of the night in bed with a movie on the laptop; THE COLDITZ STORY I got it free at WH. Smith. I had a lovely cup of Earl Grey tea and settled into my comfy was only 9pm! Lexy sat downstairs watching IT´S A WONDERFUL LIFE.

Raining this morning...well it has been and the place is full of puddles. Have just bought loads of fruit at the market; a little case of strawberries, melon, pineapple and oranges. I plan to be good, well for this week at least, though I keep having flashes of chocolate in my mind.

Monday, May 01, 2006


What the hell am I doing? If I fall off this ladder I’ll break my neck, won’t be able to work and poverty will sneak in the back door. I like buying magazines without glancing at the £3.50 price tag. I like flying around the world when I feel like it…I like the fact that I have no idea how much my phone bill is! In one of my poor spells I couldn’t afford a 20p tub of margarine, and in another my children gave a round of applause when I put money in the electricity meter!

The paint promises to be Green Tea, and it is very soothing to spread, but I’m really stretching my limits trying to get it along the line of the ceiling considering that I’m only 5’2” and the height of the room is about 2 miles. When I get to the window I’m terrified that I’m going to crash out and land on some poor old woman, just popping out for her pension, so I take a few hours off and have another go after dark; it won’t matter if I flatten a teenager…well it won’t matter to me, though somebody must love them. I want to leave this room at least half-finished before I jet off back down to Devon in my £200 car, and that has to be cleaned out first. I came up here for a rest and can’t get a minute to visit a museum or art gallery for grandchildren and scrapbooking. Actually, I tell a lie; I did pop into town the other day and visited the Museum of Modern Art…and what a load of total CRAP; nothing but dull and uninteresting installations , and no photographs and, they’ve taken out the bicycle clock. I wouldn’t mind if they’d replaced it with something good. I slipped across the road to the art shop and bought some scrapbooking supplies - I think I might have passed the £100 mark by now. I also fell into WH Smith and bought a couple of scrapbooking albums that were on sale. Amazing bargains.

Again I wonder what the hell I am doing, wandering around the world, homeless, rootless when I’m fast approaching sixty, and then I think, I’ve got years to sit doing nothing in some old-folks home, maybe. And then I think, well I’ll just get them all doing arty-crafty stuff and turn the place into a growing concern, selling artwork, greeting cards and performing poetry. I only discovered scrapbooking a couple of months ago and I’ve got everyone around me at it. Tomorrow, someone at the gastroenterology department in the local hospital is going to chuck a camera down my throat and check for inappropriate behaviour of my body against my body. So maybe I’m beginning to fall apart. I have been tidying out some of my life, trying to remember stuff and get it written down for my children. And I have got rid of a lot of junk, though I keep buying more.

Well, I’d better go take a pill so I don’t get acid reflux during the night, especially as I’m planning to eat sausage and eggs in a minute and it’s already after ten. I keep a huge cushion beside me on the bed in case I feel it coming on, then I prop myself up and go back to sleep. So if I eat late, I begin the night propped up, then when I wake up very early in the morning I can get rid of it and slide down into my nice pillows for a different kind of sleep. Sometimes I think I lead a completely different kind of life than everyone else in the world, then I realise that we all do; no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors…and we are all different. I should be happy with my lot, and I really am; I know that behind some of those doors lie worse than little women wobbling at the top of a set of ladders with a tin of Green Tea vinyl silk.