Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Where things Hide


I've just found my favorite nightdress after hunting for it for about eight months. I've looked in all the usual places, thought about where I've travelled and whom I've visited, asked around. It was nowhere to be found. I was puzzled. Last week, we packed to go away for a few days and the suitcase was too full, so at the last minute I unzipped the extra pocket on the outside front of the case - which we rarely use, and voila! My missing nightie!  So many bags/suitcases/purses these days have innumerable pockets, no doubt meant to make life easier.  Mostly, they just lead to confusion - "Now, in which pocket did I decide to keep my keys again?" During the fashion of the "big bag" - no-one could find anything inside as objects tended to behave as if they were in a tumble dryer.  At one point, an inspired designer made a smaller, compact 'organiser' to fit inside such bags whereas I simply fished out one of my old, small purses and popped it inside, so that the big bag itself remained empty.  Actually, I only struggled to keep up with this fashion for a couple of months and then gave the big purse away. Things also wriggle into tiny holes in linings of things. I've sat painfully, on many a sewing pin, accidentally left inside hems of dresses my mother used to make for me, and I've found numerous pens/lipsticks/coins inside the very flimsy linings of purses which split so easily at the seams.  Let's not even mention the flotsam and jetsam that slides down the sides of the couch, things which we only discover while searching for the remote controls. My brother once found his lost Seiko watch 18 years after he had lost it - in the lining of his beach bag, and I once mislaid a book which I am embarrassed to say I had borrowed and taken on an overseas trip. I knew I had packed it and it was only a year later that I found it in a discreet pocket in my aircraft hand luggage - and that after having had to buy the owner a new copy. My most mysterious loss of late seems to be every cup of coffee that I make during the day. I have found them in unlikely places like on the shelf in my clothes cupboard or outside on top of the trailer (no doubt put there while I was hanging the washing).  The thing is that I carry around too much stuff all the time, intending to keep the house tidy.  Still, I get a lot of exercise this way since because I'm always losing stuff, I don't sit down much.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Return to Sender?

I started this six months ago - not much progress

I am at the point now where I am re-reading 35-years worth of letters from my oldest and dearest friends, and the more I relive the past and compare our parallel lives, marvelling at how much our paths have diverged and diversified since we were young, the more reluctant I am to throw a single one away.  I have made notes of significant events and dates so that fifty letters have been reduced in most cases, to two foolscap pages but I am no nearer to 'downsizing' my possessions with a view to moving house one day.  What to do?  I have thought of leaving each one's letters in bundles with their last-known address and asking my children to post them back when I have gone.  (How would you feel about getting such surprise mail?) One argument against this is that I would make you really sad as you would have to know that I had died.  My ever-practical children have unsentimentally pointed out that I should also remember that maybe they would have died before me so the exercise would be pointless.  So perhaps I should mail them all back now, having kept just one or two as examples of airmail letters and handwriting.  What do you think?

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Anne Frank House

Anne Frank museum

The 9.00 a.m. queue - goes round the corner a few blocks!

Anne Frank house queue from the cafe

The great thing about Royal Caribbean is that they don't just dump you at the harbour on the last day of your cruise, there are various shuttles to help people to get home. If your flight only leaves at an ungodly hour that evening, they helpfully arrange a couple of local tours - in this case, around the sights of Amsterdam - and then leave you (with your suitcases) at the airport.  We chose to go on the tour which included a visit to the annexe where the Frank family hid, mainly because it is one very good way to avoid long queues.  Sure enough, on our tour arrival at 9.00 am. the queue was already at least half a mile long. Bypassing this is essential if you only have a couple of days in a city. We were at first disappointed that the annexe itself is empty of furniture, apparently as specified by Otto Frank. He wanted it as it was after being ransacked by the Nazis. Visitors move around the house in an awed silence, listening and looking at the audio-visual presentations and the photographs. However, the bookcase, built to hide the door to the annexe is still there as so is Anne's diary. This little book struck a chord with me as it's pink and white padded cover is so like one's young girls favour today and then the number of pages of exercise books also filled with Anne's writing on display, spoke eloquently of the time she devoted to her one possible pastime. So ironic, that her father, who served Germany as a loyal soldier in the First World War, made the wrong choice to stay in Amsterdam. He had relatives in both London and England who would have taken them in. When he tried to get visas it was too late as he and his wife wanted the family to stay together.  He must have had terrible survivor’s guilt.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Dull and Boring


Although I do think of myself and dull and boring increasingly these days  (witness lack of posts), it is not in this context that I mention these adjectives today.  They are in fact the names of recently twinned towns - Dull, a tiny town in Scotland with 25 homes, and Boring - a small town in America with a population of 25 000.  For this item of trivia, I have to thank our morning radio programme, which features a 5-minute slot from its correspondent, Adam Gilchrist in London each morning.  He always finds a story to raise a smile. Now that's a change from the norm. .....maybe when I've finished my mammoth 5000 piece puzzle I can address the issue of my dull and boring self.  It's 3/4 done now. I'll post a picture when I've done all the remaining 'blue' bits.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Humour Helps


I had to grin at the gym this morning - a new notice had appeared on the wall of the change room along the lines of "We do like to encourage a sharing policy at our gym, but in case anyone takes this too literally, we do recommend that you look after your valuables and put them in a locker".  In the same vein, I had to smile when I got an e-mail from my brother who does his level best to keep my old dad going: one day he went to visit and dad had decided to refuse to take any of his medicines.  Frustrated, after some gentle attempts at reasoning, my brother eventually lost it and said:  "If you don't take these pills, you may well have a stroke - and NOT DIE !"  This resonated with dad - and he took his pills and has not demurred since.