Saturday, 12 July 2008

In Sickness and in Health.........

Keith and I were married on 23 October 1971 - 37 ears this year - and I was 20 to his 25 (he was 26 three days later). People then thought that was a heck of an age difference, me barely out of my teens and him 'late 20's', but how little it seems today.

The wedding was at St. Hugh's Church in the parish where we both lived, though Keith is Catholic, and how different it was from weddings today, how much lower our expectations.

Mimuther organised it all; my opinion was neither asked nor given. Dad decided where the reception would be, as he was paying, and what form it would take (a cold buffet). Mimuther ordered the flowers from the Co-op, even my bouquet! She did tell me a couple of weeks later what flowers I was having but I had no idea what those flowers were like.

On 15th August 1971 Dad, Mum and I went to C&A in Sheffield to buy my dress. What a day - it tiddled down with rain the whole time, culminating in an almighty thunderstorm. And - you'll think I'm daft - I felt so sorry for Princess Anne because it was her 21st birthday! Anyway, the dress, when we found one that fitted, cost £35, which thought was an awful lot to spend on one dress. I had never had anything that expensive before. In any case, it had to be one of those on that rail. There was no question of "I don't fancy any of these, let's try somewhere else." and it never occurred to me that there should be.

We chose my wedding ring together, just the two of us, but only the one ring. He had to wait another ten years for his! It is 9 ct gold and only cost a fiver but it meant the world to me the and does now. We two sorted out the cars as well but this came about mainly because Keith went to school with the lad whose father, a local undertaker, owned them. Thinking again of the reception it's perhaps just as well Keith never told my dad that he was also at school with the son of the bloke who owned the best fish and chip shop in town!

Came the big day and the wedding was set for 2pm. At 10 in the morning I had to go to the hairdresser. No DIY jobs then, you had to have a shampoo and set and have your tiara fixed in your hair. Now, don't ask me why, but my two bridesmaids had to go to the hairdresser in town on the bus. I had a taxi; God knows why we didn't share it but none of us thought to ask! Such was the power of the bride's mother. My sister came home in floods of tears. She was supposed to have broderie anglaise flowers in her hair (well, it was the early 70's) to match the ones on her dress, which she had made herself. She had saved the flowers specially and the hairdresser, who was about 70, only put two flowers in her hair and they were at the front of her head - one above each eye!! She was all for pulling them out and doing the job herself but Mimuther wouldn't hear of it. That hair-do had been paid for and she wasn't to muck it up. Poor sis reckoned she looked like a gargoyle. Well, that's one word.......

When it came to my own outfit there was no shortage of 'something borrowed'. My tiara and veil belonged to my sister-in-law-to-be and my tights, which had to be whipped off the radiator at the last minute following a disaster with mine, were my sister's. Wouldn't you have thought that for such an auspicious occasion somebody would have run to the shop and bought me some new ones? The tights would have passed for the 'old' component but I can't think what the 'blue' might have been. It won't have been a garter like they have these days - much too risque.

There are certainly some things which have passed into custom now but were rarely thought o then. Gifts for the bridesmaids for a start. I had never heard of that. Nor had they, fortunately. "Evening Invitations": it wouldn't have occurred to us to have an evening do after the wedding reception. You were either invited to the wedding or you were not. Wedding announcements in the local paper would always include the words "Friends welcome at Church" but that's as far as it went. Whopping great bouquets for the respective mothers - well how would I know? Mimuther dealt with the florist. Honeymoons somewhere hot and sunny had not yet become the norm and, in fact, we went to.........our house!

Our first home-cooked meal as a married couple was mashed potatoes, cabbage, carrots .....and a tin of corned beef. Knowing our honeymoon would be at home I had bought a leg of pork to roast for Sunday lunch. We didn't own a fridge but as the weather for weeks beforehand had been wet, windy and cold, I immersed the meat in a pan of cold water, put the lid on and left it outside. On the morning of the wedding the sun came out, the temperature leapt up and nobody in the whole wide world was bothered about an ickle-wickle bit of pork outside the back door of the Poplars. So corned beef it was......

Now here I am back in the present day and so glad I didn't marry someone else. Not that suitors were exactly fighting each other. Thirty-seven years on would I change anything? Not a thing. Not-a-thing. You can keep the extravagant holidays, the off-shore bank account, the designer clothes. If you're loved you've got it all.

As my friend Judith says "We've got no money but we do see life"

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Once More with Gusto

I'm giving up food! Yes, I am. I may never eat again. With great trepidation I dared to step on the bathroom scales on Sunday morning and I was so ashamed. I can't tell you what the reading was but I need to lose 42 pounds at least. So I started on Monday.

Let me tell you why it presents such a problem: spending so much time in a wheelchair and having very weak bones and joints and poor balance makes exercising very difficult. And dieting without some sort of exercise (ergo, some tangible result)can be soul-destroying, especially when you love cooking as much as I do. Normal rules don't apply.

Slimmers' groups (how I hate them!) always say you should start off with a higher number of calories, depending how much you have to lose. Because I need to 'kick start' my loss using diet only, I have to have fewer calories. So for the next 2 weeks (only) it's 800 a day for me. Then it'll be 1000 until .............whenever! But what if, in 2 weeks' time, I haven't lost anything? Hmmm, interesting question.

have a 4-legged friend though who has a different kind of weight problem: his body can't assimilate his food so, though he gobbles up everything that's put in front of him and whatever he can beg, borrow or steal, he just gets thinner

This is him - Gusto, a 7 months old Great Dane. He keeps growing taller but never fills out. Poor lad is more like a Greyhound.

I remember, some years ago, staying with some acquaintances at their flat near Paris (sounds impressive, huh?). They had the fattest labrador ever to walk this earth and H-U-G-E Great Dane, not to mention 5 kids and the 2 of them - and us as well that weekend. All in a 4-bedroom flat. Anyway, these dogs took quite a liking to moi (French there, see?), as dogs usually do, but the labrador, a big stuffed sausage of a creature, seemed to think I was he bed. No matter where I sat she wanted to sit on me . I even had to dive into the bathroom quick so she coudn't follow me. Fortunately walking sticks and wheelchairs wee a thing of the future for me then and, for the lab, running about was a thing of the past.

The Dane, gentle soul that she was, was quite happy just to sit next to whatever chair 'we' were in and, resting a paw on my shoulder, gaze lovingly into my eyes.

On our first night there our hosts told us to make sure we closed the door firmly as that was where the dogs usually slept, along with 2 of the boys. Well the boys were sent to sleep in the family's share of the basement, next to the dustbins and old bikes. The dogs had the living room, which was between us and the bathroom and next morning off went Keith to the bathroom leaving me soundly sleeping - and the door wide open. Next thing I knew was the Dane climbing up onto the bed and laying herself down with her back to me on Keith's half. I thought that was quite funny but sat up, preparatory to booting her out....until the lab, surprisingly agile for one of her girth, and hating to see her friend muscling in on her patch (me), climbed up via the foot of the bed, navigated the various bits of Great Dane sprawling about and plonked herself unceremoniously and unashamedly across my knees. It was agony: a sqishy mattress and about 50 tonnes of dog bending my knees the wrong way. Our hosts seemed to think I was yelling from fright (dopey beggars!) and were trying to reassure me the dogs wouldn't bite me. How I wished they would, take my mind off present predicament! Mind you, I probably made matters worse by forgetting that important tenet of schoolgirl French: how to remember the difference between vouloir (to wish) and pouvoir (to be able) and I was telling them that I was able to move instead of that I wanted to! "Vouloir c'est pouvoir" - to wish is to be able.

It seems funny now but it wasn't then and from that day to this I have never ever assumed that others find my dog as cute as I do.

Why couldn't they just have had a poodle like other Parisians?

Thursday, 3 July 2008

A meme - a meme...!

I do love reading memes that others have written. I suppose it's my inate nosiness. Is there a question you always wanted to ask someone? THAT'S the things that are out of my mouth before I can stop them! Well the super-interesting Marie at Oak Cottage has tagged me to write 6 random things about myself. I don't think I can find six whole things but let's give it a go:

1. I am nosey, might as well get that out of the way! Our neighbours are moving, or they were. They're not now, I asked. Their 'For Sale' sign had disappeared so I told them "Your For Sale sign has disappeared - have you changed your mind or was it stolen?" And they told me their whole story! Keith never knows anything unless he's been talking to someone for hours. Even then he never asks the right questions. I could write a book on "How to be Nosey - Politely".

2. I am the untidiest person in the world. Yes I am. I know you'll all be saying oh, you're NOT, never, I don't believe it, but it's true I fear. Everyone seems to have beautifully arranged houses but me. I always have to hide the newspapers under the cushions and kick the shoes under the sofa if a car pulls up outside.

3. I always wanted to play the piano. Or the violin. I always thought I could sing (I was deluded). I was never sent to lessons mainly, I suspect, because we always lived in a semi-detached house as kids and the neighbours wouldn't have liked me thumping or scraping away at whatever. They couldn't stop me squawking though - heh heh!!

4. I never wanted to be famous. Or rather, I did once until I was about 8 and then I decided that famous people never lived long. I was able recite a list as long as your arm of famous young people who died, including our budgie, who was famous in the street for pecking off the wallpaper, and Jesus. So I decided I would be a nurse instead!

5. I would rather talk to people on the phone when I speak to them for the first time. Face to face I get tongue-tied. It could be because I am very deaf and am always afraid of not hearing what someone is saying or, worse, mis-hearing them. The most embarrassing question in the world is "What did you think I said?". Please don't ever say that to a deaf person.

6. Last one, now what....I think I'm getting old. True!! You can never imagine not being young, can you? You never think that you'll ever think 'fings ain't wot they use to be'. Policemen getting younger? Piffle and balderdash. And as for your doctor being young enough to be your son.........What happened to the kindly, grey haired old buffers who were entitled to ask you awkward questions? My hairdresser said I remind her of her mum. Thankfully nobody has yet said I remind them of their Grandma!

So there we are, hardly riveting stuff but I tried! Now then, here's where I am supposed to move on from being pickee to being picker. Here's what you do:

# Link to the person who tagged you.

# Post the rules on the blog

# Write six random things about yourself.

# Tag six people at the end of your post

# Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

# Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Here are my 6:

Raquel of Kitchen Mysteries

Marlene of

Lura of

Jan of whatdoIwanttocooktoday

Ah, that's 4 - well, as a new girl I'm a bit stuck for people I think might play along. There are lots of blogs I read but I don't know if they would like to be pickees.

All for now - I do lookforward to seeing what you wrote!