. . . . . . a bit of this and a bit of that.
Still spending hours reading rather than writing or doing anything else creative. Still obsessed with the news, both here and across the world. How very foolish of me to search for items on Brexit, the humanitarian catastrophes currently unfolding in the Yemen and Somalia and Myanmar’s Buddhists' genocide of the Rohingya people in Asia. Who knew Buddhists are no less cruel than adherents of any other faiths can be, given half a chance and a great enough measure of hatred of ‘the other’? And then there’s the good old USofA and that magnificent example of how a democracy works.
So why do I feel this obsession? You tell me, I have no idea. As if life weren’t miserable enough already.
Book reading is different though, I am sticking with delightfully lightweight fare. I have just finished a tale by Amor Towles, a writer new to the bookshelves. 'A Gentleman in Moscow’ covers 32 years in the life of a Russian aristocrat who has been sentenced to house arrest in a small attic in a luxury hotel in Moscow. Should he risk leaving the hotel he’d be shot. In spite of these 32 years coinciding with the most harrowing period in Russia’s recent history the story is uplifting: how to make the most of a bum deal. I enjoyed it greatly. Grand literature in the Russian classic tradition it is not but tragedy is not what I’m after.
For much of the week I am ok but weekends are hard. There’s the poetry group, the German Conversation group, there’s a bit of shopping, a chat with a friendly soul while out with Millie, tradespeople and repairmen, hedge cutters, old gardener and Kelly the cleaner, the pleasure of a meal at the pub when family old and new come for a visit, or with other pensioners for the ‘seniors’ deal’. Only Kelly and old gardener come regularly once a week and I now spend quite a bit of time chatting with them rather than letting them get on with their jobs.
I remember the time after my Dad’s death when my own Mum must have been very lonely. She used to ring me at least once a week, usually on Sunday morning. I remember feeling impatient with her, she’d ramble on and on about nothing much. Often she’d say “If only you had stayed in Germany”. Poor Mum. Even though I flew across and stayed with her every few months, particularly during her last couple of years - leaving Beloved, my relatively new husband, alone - she had few friends and was unable to adjust to life on her own. Poor Mum indeed. I hope I will do better.
For quite some time I have been fretting over renewing my passport. I am still a German national and will forever be one. Now, after Brexit, I am even less inclined to apply for British citizenship. On the whole, people reassure me that after all these years living here, working here, paying my taxes and having British husbands throughout (one at a time) I will not be summarily deported. But if I were I’d simply sell up and move back to Germany, although I’d prefer not to. My life has been here for so long now I’d probably find settling in Germany difficult. So, I needed to renew my passport which cannot be done by post. After Beloved’s death and completion of the necessary paperwork following on, I finally had the space and time to go to Cardiff (or Liverpool) and apply with the Honorary German Consul in either of these cities. A train journey would get me there. That is until my leg and hip turned on me. I was in perfect agony for more than two weeks and the thought of travelling by train became a nightmare. In stepped my son. “Mum, I have a few days off in October, would you like me to come over and do whatever needs doing?” Would I? Would I? He took me to Cardiff by car and we even had enough time to spend hours in my favourite department store where we had lunch, afternoon tea and a leisurely stroll around the ladies’ clothing floor. I came away with a very smart and rather expensive jumper. It’s so long since I bought myself anything at all in the clothing line that buying this jumper (sweater?) felt like a real treat. I really am most grateful for my son’s kind deed. And what’s more, I should have a passport within six weeks, one of those European Union passports with fingerprints and eye recognition. As soon as I have sorted myself out I shall probably do some travelling again.
I have had no further news from my daughter other than a pleasant note in reply to my email, but I am still hopeful; she’s been on holiday and may be short of time. It would be nice to be on good terms with both my children. However, as I said in the previous post, I will expect nothing and appreciate everything.
As I sit here writing, Ophelia is roaring around the house. It’s a storm now, not a hurricane, but it is quite frightening enough. My main concern is about the beech tree holding on to it’s roots. Millie and I ventured out this afternoon but not for long and no further than the field. And keeping well away from trees. The forecast is for gusts of 80 - 90 mph to continue into the night. As I am (I didn’t say WE, there’s progress!) quite a way inland from the West Wales coast perhaps the strength of the wind will be less by and by. Should I go to bed or stay up? What do people in the hurricane prone regions do? I still have electricity.
I have enjoyed writing this post; I know it’s pretty anodyne and waffly, but yes, I enjoyed it. Perhaps blogging will become a pleasure again.