Friends

18 May 2019

FROM MAN TO DAME... a rerun of an old post!

I had the pleasure of seeing this performance again and remembered that I had blogged about it on the first occasion. So, while I’m still laughing at the star turn I thought I’d post it again so you can all have a giggle … with apologies to any bloggers who read it before.


From Man to Dame

What a pantomime the day was, or rather the afternoon. Being an invited guest and Federation representative at a WI event I was obliged to talk about the future of the WI as it approached its centenary year. The prospect was so daunting I had spent a couple of weeks preparing for it by nightly listening to my recorded words. Imagine my pleasure, therefore, when I found myself adlibbing like a practised speech-maker.

My performance was followed by a different kind when the audience was given an insight into the world of theatre … in the form of pantomime dame. Entering from stage right (got the lingo, you see) a rather serious man in business clothes sauntered to where his props and outfits were laid out and proceeded to undress. You can imagine the rapturous cries emanating from the mouths of ladies in their twilight years. But the guy had come prepared for beneath his pinstripes he wore garish bloomers and vest and a pair of multi-coloured striped socks. That was tough on the ladies.

There followed a demonstration on how to apply stage make-up, many tips being offered on the application of eye colour and how best to apply lipstick. All the time our ‘dame’ kept up a humorous dialogue, frequently aiming hilarious comments to the ladies in the front row. At the end of this routine came the dressing which, of course, required help from the audience. Brightly coloured dresses, hats, wigs, and outrageous earrings were tried on and with each outfit came more patter aimed at selected members of the audience. It was extremely funny and most of us wept tears as we laughed. ‘Oh yes you are, Oh no you’re not’ was practised to perfection, and ‘It’s behind you’ went with a swing. There was a singing contest, us against them, the volume increasing with each note that left most of us hoarse. What fun it was to be transported to childhood in such a pleasant way and who said us oldies couldn’t have fun? 

10 May 2019

MY ACCIDENT

My Accident
Viper Mobility Scooter
(Borrowed pic... mine has more red parts)

I don’t get out very often these days but plucked up the courage to give the buggy an airing. I had an urgent letter to post and the nearest post box is a very long walk away so off I went on the buggy. I had to face road works and men digging up pavements which was a surprise but not insurmountable. Some of the men were real gentlemen, guiding me through the rough bits and offering cheery encouragement. It quite made my day, so to speak.

Letter posted, I got ready for the return journey but by this time there was even more upheaval on the road. I decided to go the long way round, using part of the area seldom seen. It was lovely to be out in the fresh air and enjoying the ride, so to speak. I relished being out and about and took time to enjoy surroundings seldom seen. Eventually I reached my road, passing more workmen and greeted by a few, and made my way downhill towards my house. A few neighbours waved and called out. 

Because the neighbour’s car was parked on my drive I had to take a sharp left to get on the sloping drive, whereas on a normal occasion I would ride to the far end where the brickwork evens out.

The scooter attempted to throw me off. I didn’t fall but my leg was suddenly trapped when the front wheels tried to reach those at the back!  And, boy, did I scream. If it hadn’t been for one of the workmen, who just happened to drive by and see my accident happen, I would have been stuck there forever. He slammed the brakes and jumped out of his van to rescue me. Good job he did because I would never have got out by myself, me being firmly trapped.

Then suddenly I was surrounded by neighbours who either heard the crash or heard the scream. The kind driver left without even a thank you from me, and I feel guilty about that.

So that’s the end of the incident, but not the end of the red raw patch on my leg, about three inches in diameter. The skin was literally scraped off and for a week I watched the formation of an ugly scab. I watch it every day and marvel at the way it slowly diminishes in size. I guess it will be gone in about another week's time. I don’t think I’ll ever use the scooter again but in case I want to I have pushed a note through the neighbour's door requesting the rehousing of his damn car. 

04 May 2019

MORE THIS AND THAT


1.      Minding a car for a neighbour. It’s on my drive and I keep getting that ‘I wish’ feeling. The car is for a neighbour’s daughter but his car takes up his only space – hence an appeal for my assistance.

2.      Ever heard the old saying ‘Wind, wind, go away, come on back another day? Well, I would like to insert the word NEVER, since we’re all sick of it.

3.      I like long hair but ladies on cookery programmes should NOT leave their locks flowing all over the food.

4.      Whoops, neighbour’s daughter doesn’t want the car. Neighbour has engaged a family member to take photographs prior to advertising the car for sale.

5.     Recent two day spell of sunshine now replaced by more rain. Oh well, mustn’t grumble!

6.      New neighbours opposite. Today the man of the house was cleaning windows. I called a greeting today but was ignored. Only later did I notice his earphones so presume he was engrossed with music while he worked.

7.      Two phone calls on separate days to tell me my Internet has a problem and I should discuss it by pressing 1. There was a slight blip when I first logged on line but it cleared in a few seconds. I didn’t press 1. Second call, a few days later, gave the same feeling that it was another scam, and the Internet was fine for the rest of the day and beyond. Both callers were women, perhaps they should concentrate on peeling spuds!

8.      How many of you had the job of podding peas when you were young and, if so, did you eat them faster than you could pod them, and did your parents guess what you were up to? Personally, I preferred them raw!

9.      The car mentioned above is still on my drive. The daughter didn’t want it so now it’s awaiting a sale. Wish they would hurry up.

10.   Early birthday present, a lovely table lamp, but no bulb. Couldn’t even guess what bulb required. Helpful neighbours sorted it and shopped for bulb. How’s that for GREAT neighbours?

SPIRITS OF THE PAST

It was the weirdest dream I'd ever had. I was flying, literally, soaring like an eagle right into summer, leaving the New Year frosts behind. A silver cape streamed behind me. A black mask, slightly askew, had captured an aimless spiral of blonde hair. Apart from isolated cotton-candy clouds, there was nothing to see. I thought the world had disappeared until I found myself gliding over a floating mass of what appeared to be dark brown rocks. I hovered briefly in order to survey the great bulk of... well, I'll call it rubble for want of a more descriptive word. I could distinguish some mountainous areas in the middle, with colourless water snaking in and out, but the majority of the terrain was flat and sombre, littered with boulders and various markers. I shoved the delinquent hair behind my ear, adjusted the mask, and then zoomed down for a closer look. The nearer I got to that spherical island the more chilled I felt…yet it wasn't cold. In fact, the higher my cape flew the more of my shoulders the sun found to roast.

The markers were a diverse array of signposts each pointing in a different direction. Mostly the posts were constructed from wood, ramshackle and splintering, but one or two were elaborately created. Those were placed abreast of wooden stiles, though there was no path upon which to travel when one had clambered over. I plunged towards the first post and latched onto it by wrapping my arm around its imposing pointed prong. The letters inscribed there were huge and I had to tilt my head to read it.
              
Welcome to the Forties, it said.
              
Thank you, I said.
              
Slackening my grip, I drifted in the direction of less elaborate signs. They were branded with dates, deeply chiselled for permanency, years ranging from 1940 to 1944. Again I felt that sweeping chill. Vibes of bloody battles made me shudder. A curious burning smell made me want to puke. Lamentations filled the air and my cheeks were showered with watery drops. I glanced upwards expecting to see rain clouds, but the sun was shining as fiercely as before. Hastily, I averted my eyes, not liking the perception of such acute sadness. Anxious to find more agreeable surroundings, I pulled my cape closer and wafted away.
              
Flitting over a cheerless lake, I advanced towards a solidly constructed signpost, made of steel with wrought iron digits standing proud, each digit entwined with withered roses and sprigs of laurel. 1945. Waves of acclamation caressed me, yet the impression that someone had died was very strong. There were no mortals to whom I could attribute the echoing sounds yet I definitely heard laughter and muffled exchanges. And enunciated names: Hitler and Ribbentrop. My own impression was one of relief though I couldn’t explain why. It might have been the warmth, or the unexpected peace.
              
Ahead of me, descending slowly earthward, was an additional signpost. Enthralled by the method of descent I watched it alight on the brow of the hill, its arrow-like arm indicating the direction of the fifties. What lay on the other side? Would there be chaos, more gunfire and smoke, more flashing lights and despairing cries? I decided not to proceed. I had seen enough. All I wanted was to go home. If only I knew the way.
              
Swiftly, I arched away from the ghosts that occupied that extraordinarily desolate chunk of land, gathering about me the cape which seemed suddenly leaden. I panicked that the exit point might elude me, completely forgetting I could fly. I whirled round in my agitation and collided with a hitherto unseen monumental placard, suspended in mid-air, the size of the tract itself. I paced back, tortuously slanting my neck to behold the colossal red lettering. Red as blood, the only vivid colour in that dingy brown expanse.

YOU ARE NOW LEAVING OUR DECADE
WE TRUST YOUR VISIT WAS INSPIRING

Somewhere a clock chimed. Out of the remoteness came Ma's piping voice shouting me to wake. My eyes fluttered open. The silver cape was on the five-drawer chest where I had left it after the fancy dress ball. The mask was hanging by its elastic on one of the knobs. I breathed a sigh of relief. I was back home, in our matchbox-sized house, a bright and cosy property just big enough for Ma and me. We were unassailable. We were unaffected by past decades.
              
Or were we?