Monday, 16 October 2017

Back to . . . .

. . . . . . 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.


  1. And I enjoyed reading it. I haven't been in the blog world much myself, but I do enjoy reading (hearing?) your voice.

  2. I am always glad to see you pop up in my reader. And so very pleased that you enjoyed writing this post.

  3. It was so good to read this post from you! Blogging has been good for me since losing my dear husband Dec. 2012.

    Living in a hurricane prone area of s.e. FL USA, we hunker down, pray, breathe a sigh of relief when it is all over, then start clean up or rebuilding, whatever needs doing. Went through two bad ones in 2004, Frances and Jeanne, then a really bad one in 2005, Wilma.

    I just went through Irma last month but she was mild compared to the other three, at least in our area, wind gusts up to around 80 mph, some small tornadoes. She did do a lot of damages in the Keys and the west coast of FL, some deaths in the islands. I was without power for 4 days. With these storms you just never know what they are going to do. I drove to my BIL and SIL's place about 30 min away and stayed with them for 4 days so that I wouldn't be by myself as we didn't know what exactly Irma was going to do.

    It is scary that is for sure. I do hope your tree stayed standing and that you have no real bad damages from Ophelia.

    Have a wonderful week, taking life one day at a time.

    Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

  4. This is a lovely post, what life is like in all its aspects, through your wonderfully perceptive eyes. We send good thoguhts for the beech tree to hold on through the storm.

  5. I have certainly enjoyed reading your glad that you enjoyed writing it.
    We have just had a tropical storm which has devastated the country...we were fine and dandy, but the destruction of infrastructure will cost a fortune to put right, while every efort is being made, by official bodies and by volunteers, to help people whose homes have been destroyed. I am stunned and delighted by the solidarity of people in this country.
    I am sorry to hear that you have had problems with your depressing to have such pain when you want to get out and about...
    I have no idea what will happen with Brexit...two sets of politicians intent on making a super mess of things...but will be greatly disappointed in the nature of the British population if they permit the expulsion of people who have lived for years in the U.K.
    Mark you, the current British population seems to be fairly father used to refer to the English as brain, no backbone and two faced. Long gone the spirit of the London draymen who pelted von Haynau - the Austrian butcher.

  6. I hope the storm leaves you alone. The weather is all messed up all over...I still think it had something to do when Japan had that big earthquake and the earth shifted some on it's axis...but I am a bit strange anyways. I am glad you are getting out and planning to don't have far to go to see some beautiful sites...not like the USA where you have to travel for days:)

  7. What did you do about the leg and hip pain? It sounds as if it is much better now, or you would probably not have been strolling around your favourite department store in Cardiff or taken Millie for a walk.
    I hope the storm won't cause any damage to your house. We are still enjoying the most perfect golden October days, but it is supposed to last only until tomorrow or Thursday.
    A friend of mine who is originally from Liverpool has been running his own business here in Ludwigsburg for about 20 years. In April, he took an Einb├╝rgerungstest to become a German citizen. He does not really want to, but he fears things will become difficult for him in the future, as a business owner and employer.

    1. PS: Blogging should always only be for pleasure (as long as you do not do it for a living, of course) - so I am glad you enjoyed writing this post! If it's no fun, just don't do it :-)

  8. Hi Friko - good to read this and get the 'feel of you' again in your post - I'm glad you've got yourself a new passport and will be able to travel again ... and grand to know your son is helping you out ... and let's hope your daughter will come round - I'm sure she will. I'll be in touch 'soon' ... with thoughts and hugs - Hilary

  9. The pleasure is ours to hear from you, Friko!

  10. so nice to see your post. glad to hear you are getting out. we, here, in hurricane country, just go on to bed. if something happens, it will wake us up and staying up won't prevent that tree or branch from falling.

  11. You already are enjoying it again. Can hear it in your voice. Rambling means you are comfortable chatting. ;) The world is in a lot of upheaval--from man and nature--lately. I haven't watched the political news like this since Watergate. Why? I ask myself why, too. Gorgeous day today. I'm glad you are getting out a bit and thinking about traveling. Sounds wonderful! Hugs from Fargo, ND, USofA. ;)

  12. Good to hear from and about you again, friend Friko ... Thank you so much ... The passport topic is most interesting ... as when I finally decided to become a Canadian citizen, I had to give up my German citizenship ... as dual citizen ship is not possible ... Anyway ... Love you, cat

  13. I don’t sleep well when hurricanes come my way. The sound of the wind and the fury they pose are very frightening. Tornado are even more scary. Thankfully, none made it north to my area this year.

    It is good to be prepared and have your passport. In the US, many are doing the same.

  14. Reading this post made me think of making a "welcome home" sign. I felt like a friend has come back. You seem to be feeling much better; more in control. Your writing has been top notch ever since I discovered your blog years ago. How fortunate for us when you enjoy writing! Thank you! May your days only get better.

  15. There is more lightness in this post, a whiff of the Friko of old. Delightful. There will be dark times and light times, and I hope the light will win out.

  16. Well, it's a pleasure for me to see you writing again and sharing your world with us. Every day is a journey but it feels as though you are feeling a bit more light on your path. I'm glad your son was so helpful -- that's a very heartwarming thing. I'm sure the Brexit issue is frustrating. Like you, I've been watching far too many politics on telly and it's very stressful. I don't recommend it but I do it anyway. And shake my head at what's happening here. And around the world, for that matter.

    Don't you wish we could have a do-over with certain people in our lives? You mentioned your mom and her grief; I've had that feeling with similar things. All we can do is remember we did the best we could do at the time given who we were then and what we knew then, compared to now.

    Thanks for the Gentleman in Moscow recommendation. I've heard quite a bit about that book and it's on my list.

  17. You're not rambling , you're chatting ...
    I remember my mother saying , after my father died , how she missed just being able to chat with him afterwards about a family visit or a day out . Perhaps that's why many of us blog .

  18. I too found the entry a delight, like listening to an old friend I haven't heard from in a long while and eager to get all the latest.

  19. I can understand your choosing to follow what’s happening around the world as I, too, want to stay abreast of all that’s occurring, even though so much is negative. I was also surprised that Buddhists engaged in such violence when I first heard about it which has been disappointing to me to learn. I keep looking for any indications surrounding the worst of news that the situations are getting better — have to know what the actual situation is in order to recognize any emerging positive indicators. This will keep me following events for any sign as I believe eventually better conditions will prevail around the world including the U.S. — if we resist and persist.

    I may well have spoken a bit more than usual to others I encountered in the time after my husband died, once life began to have a new rhythm of just me at home alone. Occasionally, I even speak aloud now, just to hear the sound of a voice — just for the fun of it — if days have gone by without any contacts. I still have moments when I want to comment about some matter that my husband and I would have had a unique-to-us shared interest in discussing. Adjustments and adaptations do go on for me.

  20. I seem to be having troubles posting comments. I hope this works.

  21. I fervently hope that blogging and other things in life will become pleasurable. Grief as one's constant companion is draining, and then there is the issue of learning to carry it since we are never completely rid of it...Hugs and warm thoughts to you and please keep writing.

  22. I enjoyed reading this post. It was so good to hear your news. I was especially happy to know you and I had been reading the same book. I just finished a week or two ago reading A Gentleman in Moscow also. I enjoyed reading the book so much. Quite honestly, I don’t know when I’ve read a better book. They seem had to come by these days.

    I spend too much time listening to, reading about, and watching our horrid political news on this side of the pond. I am still in shock from a year ago, and the news just keeps getting worse.

    The trip to Cardiff with your son sounds like it was just what you needed. I love Cardiff. I wonder if I will ever see it again. I hope so. I do have a passport, so maybe I too will do some traveling.

  23. I like blogs that are chatty. Mine isn't, but that's just me I think. I'm glad things are improving with your son, and hope they also improve with your daughter. How lucky you are to have the option of leaving the country after Brexit. If we had a halfway competent government I could accept it, but they are trying to make it look as if the worst possible option will be a triumph because they are simply not up to the job of negotiating a good one. While the opposition sits on its hands. ghastly.


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