Tuesday, 23 August 2011

what we did at the seaside

C has recently expressed a desire to swim in the sea again. Not that this was something she’d often done in out time together; all those childhood hols in the South of France, and a young adulthood in various druggy beach havens in Goa and the Balearics meant that she took rather a wan view of the more bracing qualities of British coastal seas.

Thirty years of living with Mr No Passport have brought about a gradual change, though, and yesterday she drove us – she, me, and our dog, Kez – down to Sidmouth, a favourite haunt she first discovered with her elderly friend, Terry P, more than a decade ago. It has the twin attractions of a beach that allows dogs in the summertime and some first-class artisanal ice cream from Taste in the old town.

The weather gloomed over as we left, but as we slid around Exeter and dashed across the pebble heathland towards the coast - Lo! – the clouds parted. We parked in a restricted zone at the West end of the town and went to  negotiate the shingle at Jacob’s Ladder beach. Both of us went in for a swim. In fact several. C was a little disappointed at how weak she was, that she did not manage more than a couple of dozen strokes, but was and remains thrilled that we did it.

After successfully wriggling out of her swimsuit under her dress while sitting on the pebbles, C needed my help in getting to her feet. I stood in front of her, legs a little apart and feet planted further down the slope. We linked forearms, and, on the count of tree, I lifted her up: or, at least, that was the idea. Instead, C was propelled forward, surfing slowly down on her backside until she bumped against my legs. This gentle impact, combined with the feeling of the shingle shifting slightly beneath my feet, led me to fold gently over the top of her to brace myself on the slope behind. As my glasses and various other pertinent items cascaded out of my top pocket and C began to howl with laughter,  I was moved to inquire if anyone in the vicinity had the number of Laurel and Hardy’s scriptwriters.

I had, though underestimated the power of the Prankster to summon up a punchline. With that keen canine intelligence that is so much a hallmark of his personality, Kez deconstructed the chaos unfolding before him and immediately came up with an applicable action: he wrapped his front legs around C’s shoulder and, lipstick waggling wildly, started shagging her arm.

Friday, 12 August 2011

moving right along...

C spent most of June either having treatment or recovering from it. While it was frustrating for her that the stent had not given her an immediate flood of energy in the wake of the tide of bile thus released, there were the twin consolations of Wimbledon and the occasionally sunny day in the garden, where she could toast her bones in the joyous freedom of knowing she needn't care about melanomas any more. Towards the end of the month, we started to get around more - on fairly short trips as C was not comfortable in the car.

We moved the armchair from my study to the bedroom to cope with the stream of guests
first crop

This was taken on 30 June, the 23 anniversary of our first wedding (a longer story than fits in a caption)

C is making a point of wearing all the fabulous clothes and jewels she has been saving for special occasions, which is why she is wearing silks and linen in the garden, and flaunting her collection of insect jewellery around the local coffee shop. I bought C the dragonfly brooch a few years ago, but she rarely wore it because she was afraid of losing it. She did not wear the blue linen dress that often, because it gaped at the front. One problem solves another.

Saturday, 6 August 2011


Pictures of our garden belong here because we made it together; our third, and best. We like to attract wildlife, and everything we do - well, almost everything – in the garden, we do with that in mind. Any plant that's bee-friendly is in, especially if it's native and / or scented.

Wimbledon, a yearly pleasure, bordering on obsession