The book club meeting is being held at my flat this month. We are a mixed bunch of different ages who meet once a month to discuss the book chosen by the host of the meeting, we do this in turn. The group consists of three youngish Mums who often have to bring their children (no child minders available,we are all at the meeting), two young Dads, one middle aged lady, and one very old bat. There is a secondary purpose to this gathering, the host has to make a cake or a dessert. other book groups drink wine during their discussions, our cake and dessert choice evolved over time not only because of the children but because most of the group have to drive home.
I have chosen the book, The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, winner of the Mann Booker prize in 2o09,which we are all reading. It is about the seamier side of Indian commercial life told with black humour. I wonder how the rest of the group will take it. When you choose a book you hope that the others will enjoy it but the best discussions always follow the ones that some of us don’t like. We rarely all agree but always have an enjoyable evening.
I now have to decide on what cake or dessert to make, do I play it safe or try a new recipe which might be a complete failure? When I was looking after a family I was cooking all the time and cake making was routine, now that I live on my own and have to watch the calories, I only make cakes for special occasions. I must confess that I have lost confidence due to the lack of practice. I am going to try out a couple of old favourites and see which is the best..
Setting up a book group is an enjoyable way of getting together with other people, age does not matter, neither does taste in books. By joining in, you have to read everyone’s choice and often surprise yourself by enjoying books that you would never have considered reading. Have a go, collect some friends together and try it!
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged a book discussion group is great, a group makes us other peoples taste in books, a night out with friends, candid discussion, good company, mixed ages and sexes, mixed tastes, our group makes cakes and desserts, the best discussions are about ones we don;t like, the group meets in each home in turn, we don't have to like every book, we have to read other peoples taste in books, we visit
Today I am getting a bit philosophical about old age ,the past and trying to put past mistakes right. We have all done things that we regret, said things that we should not have said, and left undone things that we should have completed. Perhaps there are perfect people out there, a few real angels, but not the majority. I am not referring to very bad things but to such as losing friends as the result of a silly argument, or neglecting to help people when I should have done. I have decided that before it is too late I am going to try and do some thing about it. I have never had a serious falling out with anyone but I have had silly tiffs and allowed relationships and friendships to wither away after them. Some while ago two of my best friends, sisters, had a serious fall out, I had to distance myself from both of them so as not to show either favour. Time has past and we are all old ladies now so I am going to “mend some fences’ and try to rejuvenate our old friendship . There are other good friends who just moved to other districts and we have lost touch through neglect.
Christmas is just a few weeks away so this gives me the opportunity to get on with my ‘fence mending’. I am going to look through all my old diaries , address books containing the telephone numbers of all the friends that I have neglected and I am going to call them, tell them how much I have missed them and apologise for not getting in touch sooner. They might just put the phone down but I hope that others will be pleased. I will let you all know at a later date how successful the “fence mending” turned out to be, wish me luck in my endeavours!
Even oldbats like me like to have fun and join in some activity with friends and neighbours. The local pub quiz is the answer for me. I joined a team of young friends about four years ago. At that time I was quite a useful member as I followed sport , came from the country, and had lived considerably longer than the others. At that time I could answer my type of questions after a few minutes of pondering, a couple of years later I would remember the answer to a particular question just before the end of the quiz. At the present time I am quite likely to wake up and remember it in the middle of the night, no good for scoring quiz points, you can often forget facts that you learnt yesterday but recall an incident that you have not thought about for fifty years . Immediately you worry ‘dementia’ but comfort yourself saying ‘ it’s probably just old age’. However , it is great fun and having contact with people that you might only see in the local corner shop is rewarding, they become new friends. I don’t drink much alcohol but feel that if you use the pub’s facilities you should have something. In fact this is where I ordered my first ever drink at a bar so I go really mad and have half a pint of a certain shandy! I love the competitive atmosphere, everyone takes it so seriously, you would think that there was a big money prize not just a bottle of wine. There can be minor fall outs between team members when both are absolutely sure that they have the correct answer. There is always a lot of banter between certain teams, light hearted of course , there are teams you must try to beat, while there are others that are much too good, beating them is the ultimate achievement.
A few times a year a team member sets the questions, these nights can be difficult for the Quiz master and her home team because in order to make sure that there is no favouritism she makes the questions far too hard, the home team usually comes last.
To anyone who is a bit lonely and not looking forward to the long winter nights ahead, why not put a team together and have a go, it’s great fun.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged a good night out, debate, friendly banter, friendly rivalry, fun at pub quizes, fun with younger friends, get out and about, get together with neighbours, good company, no age limit, no smoking, s questions, shortens the log winter nights, sport, topical questions, warm and friendly
I live in a city which is quite a multi-racial, multicultural one, once a busy port, Somali seamen settled here, then after the “Windrush”, many West Indians came and stayed. The three junior schools nearest my flat are 50/50 multi-racial with Chinese, West Indian, Pakistani, Indian, Middle Eastern as well as Eastern European children. We also have many beautiful mixed race (dual heritage) children who light up our lives.
Our elderly population is well used to these changes, every day we see ladies dressed in burkhas following behind their husband doing the shopping, many young girls wear headscarfs to school . For a few years I helped in a class teaching Asian ladies to speak English. Some had lived in the city for 20 years before being persuaded by daughters and granddaughters to learn the language.
I travel on the same bus to work, three days a week. Two other elderly ladies use the same route, I was surprised to see the frightened look on the face one of them when a Goth friend came and sat next to me. She was obviously upset and got off at the next stop. This worried me, I felt that I had to put this right. The next time we were on the bus without my Gothic friend , I told her that if she was ever unfortunate enough to have to have radio therapy he might be the person helping to deliver the treatment. He might look very different but he was a good person who did a worthwhile job. My other friend who travels with us piped up saying “You can’t judge people by how they look and dress these days, my granddaughter has a first class honours degree and now she is a “punk lawyer”
I relayed this incident to my Gothic friend when next we met, he said that normally the older people take no notice of him, it was the young ones who didn’t like it. He told me that he had gone to the hospital Christmas party in full Gothic make up, dead white face, kohl lined eyes, long jet black hair and black lipstick. One of the elderly patients taking a wrong turn on her zimmer frame came right up to him, looked up at his face and said “You look beautiful”. Thank goodness she didn’t think he was a devilish ghost!
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged 50/50 multi racial schools, A multi-racial, appreciate other people, beautiful mixed race children, fear, fear of anything different, Keeping an open mind about other people and their customs, multicultural city, racial prejudice, respect other people, try not to judge people by appearances
As I said in my last piece , I moved to this smallish city from a rural area, actually I had always lived and worked on a farm. I had never spent any time in a town, never mind a really bustling city. It scared me to death, I could not get used to the pace of everything, every one rushing around , the traffic completely scared me. I was terrified. I was too frightened to cross the road on my own . I would only cross at the pedestrian crossing when the little green man told me.. If there was no such crossing I had to wait for other people to gather and cross with them. My excuse was that I wear spectacles of the varilux type so I had difficulty in both judging the speed and distance of the oncoming traffic, it took me a long time to come to terms with this. I am not too good now after years of city living.
I started helping as a volunteer worker in a small charity shop which had a good second hand book section. One day when I was left in charge, two middle aged, well dressed gentlemen came in, they looked like successful business men. One of them asked if I could help him chose a book for his mothers’ birthday. Being eager to make a sale, I left my position behind the counter and went to the far end of the shop to show him the most suitable books. Having looked at a few he said that he would come back later. He did not come back but I thought no more about it until it was time to go home. I looked for my hand bag which should have been under the counter but it was gone. I realized quite quickly that the two well dressed men were thieves, that they had worked together to distract me from the counter in order to steal whatever they could. As it was impossible to get access to the till the second man helped himself to my hand bag instead. We called the police and notified my bank so that my credit card was stopped, also told the driving licence authority . I was in “lodgings” at the time and had the keys of the house in my bag, so had to pay for new locks to be fitted. My bag was never recovered . I did not realize how much I had in it until I needed my keys, odd bits of paper with notes on , my address book with all my friends’ telephone numbers, my lovely Parker pen, the small bit of make up that I used etc.
A few weeks after this I moved into a top floor flat in a large Victorian house overlooking a lovely park. It was a two bedroom flat so that I could have my family to stay. In its heyday it was the servants’ quarters. The disadvantage was that there was no central heating, that did not bother me because I had never lived with it. The main disadvantage was that it was four flights up. Not so good for carrying heavy bags of shopping. On returning from work one day I opened the door with my key and knew immediately that someone had been into the flat, they had ransacked it. They must have had a duplicate key, knew that I would be at work, and had taken everything they could sell without being caught.. I did not have many possessions but what I had were of great sentimental value. My mother and Grandmothers’ jewellery, gold and silver bracelets, my rings, a pearl (cultured) necklace and a Rolex watch that I had been given many years before. These items could never be replaced. The police came, dusted every thing with finger print powder, gave me a crime scene number, were very sympathetic and left. They did not recover any thing, I didn’t expect them to. I was upset but I learnt a hard lesson. No one was hurt, my possessions were only ‘things’ that I could live quite well without and in future not to have anything of real value. I then tried to settle down to my new life hoping that there were not more disasters to come, so far so good, but I’m still keeping my fingers crossed. Not a good introduction to city living!!!!!!