A new life at 67.Can a woman start all over again?

Archive for the ‘Home Thoughts from Abroad’ Category


Yesterday was one of those perfect late summer days,and my watercolour painting class took off to capture,or maybe not,the beauty of the nearby lake.

Although we are now only four pupils the course still started again last week.

My teacher congratulated me on my new size block of paper and large brush,and was indeed very generous with his comments on what I had painted at the end of the first lesson. Can you believe it,I was even quite pleased with it myself.

So yesterday I was full of confidence as we went to paint the lake again,from the other side.

No problem,I thought,but there was.

Firstly that side of the lake enjoys the full afternoon sun,and yesterday everyone was out enjoying what well might be one of our last really warm days. Families with crying babies, loud youngsters on cycles,walkers making a din with their unnecessary sticks in the gravel, and of course countless pensioners who had nothing better to do then to look over my shoulder and ask if I minded them taking a “gucksle” Oddly enough I didn’t mind it quite so much as I used to which must be a step in the right direction.

Concentration wasn’t easy.

The real problem though for me were the boats. It didn’t matter what viewpoint I took to paint, the colourful boats got in the way. An accomplished Artist would of course have welcomed the colour of the little moored sailing boats in their in their composition but to me they were an unsurpassed challenge. I couldn’t get the perspective quite right,and they moved all the time in the wind,so you couldn’t really copy them, not to mention their important shadows in the water.

I was getting really frustrated at my inability and the noise around me, when my mobile phone let itself be known.It was only a message,but it was something that I certainly didn’t want to read at that moment,and I hoped it would go to sleep, but they don’t do they, the infuriating little peep kept reminding me that I hadn’t read whatever it was,and I eventually had to rummage around in my rucksack until I found it.

Odd how certain things happen, and especially at certain times that really count.

The message was from an Artist friend of mine in England, who I hadn’t heard from in a long time.

He hoped I was O.K and persevering with painting.


The Most Dangerous Dog

Solomon,was his name and he had big brown eyes but I still didn’t like him.Maybe it was because I was going on seven years old and I felt his bare anatomy not very nice, especially as he peed over the carpet when he got excited. A brown and black shorthaired Dachshund or sausage dog as a lot of people called them then.

He belonged to my Aunt Molly.She wasn’t really my Aunt,just a good friend of my Mothers.

I thought her very special as she would go barefoot in her shoes or even sandals in the middle of winter. My Mother said it was because she served in the Royal Air Force in India during the war, and was forced to wear heavy shoes and stockings in the heat.

Sometimes when my Mother was working I was sent to Auntie Molly’s. She always made fried egg and delicious chips for lunch,which I can’t remember ever having at home.

In the afternoons we would go for long walks in the Surrey countryside,and she would tell me stories from the books she had read.

She loved books, and reading, and passed this passion on to me.

At Christmas and on my Birthday I always received some classic of literature all very much to old for me,but I read them just the same.

I will always be thankful for what she taught me,and when I eat chips I often think of her. But I never really liked her dog.Not that I was afraid of him,he was just so yappy and as I said liable to wet over your feet.

Today I saw a picture of Solomon in the paper. It wasn’t him of course just one like him.

According to a study by the University of Pensylvania on which is the most agressive dog, it isn’t the Pitbull Terrier,it isn’t the German Shepherd,but it is Aunty Molly’s four legged friend Solomon.

Dachshunds are the most likely to bite,and they won by a wide margin.

Feelings are never wrong.

Porsche in the City

When I was small I asked my Father what the difference was between the Tory and the Labour Party in British government.He gave me an answer that satisfied a childs mind.
“The Tories help the rich people in the country,Labour help the poor”

London has now voted against “red” Ken Livingston ,who has been Lord Mayor of the city for several years.He was always to the very left side of the labour party,but he didn’t do a bad job in London.
One of the things he initiated was a toll of 25 GB Pounds on every owner of a high powered car which expelled more than 225 gramm of carbon dioxide who wanted to drive in the City
This motion should come into force in Oktober.

But now “Red Ken” has gone, and London has a Tory mayor. Boris Johnson, educated at Eton and Oxford,who’s family most probably didn’t have a Ford in their garage.

My Father’s words ring in my ear,and I am wondering like many others if Mr Johnson will amend the toll.

The German motor manufacturer, Porsche, already brought an action against it last month.

Violet Blue

My Father liked to grow roses.When I was still in my first decade we lived in the county of Surrey in England,there they said the sandy soil was particularly good for roses.

One of his favourites was a rambler that he grew from a cutting taken from a bush belonging to his Mother,there it transformed the small city garden into a mass of mauve.

The cutting grew and after a few years it was covering our high wooden fence.

Everybody commented on the colour.Nobody had seen such a rose bush,full of clusters of small, filled roses, varying in colour from mauve over violet to splatters of deep purple and blue.

We had to move to the west coast,so some of the rose was lifted and it came along too. It flourished there despite the stony soil. My parents moved twice again before they eventually

retired and went back south. With the rose of course.

When I married and settled in Switzerland they brought a piece of the root over for us.

It has been growing in our garden ever since.

I had never seen another one like it.Roses don’t grow well in Switzerland,but last summer we went to a gardeners near the German border, and there I saw it,

“Veilchen Blau” covering an old rusty arch.

It had apparently been bred by a German rose grower in 1909. How it came to be in my Grandmothers garden could possibly be an interesting story.

At Christmas we went over to Canada to visit our eldest daughter and her husband. Yesterday I spoke to them on the phone.

Guess what they had just planted in their garden.

Carla Bruni- Sarkozy and Her President in England.

A State Visit to England always entails a lot of work when it comes to getting the brass polished, but what was shown yesterday for the visit of President Sarkozy of France and his new wife,- more well known for nude portraits, seemed to me as a Brit, and despite everything a Royalist, a little over the top.

Not that I have anything against La Grande Nation.Not more than the average Brit. We just seem to have been at loggerheads with them for the last thousand years.

Luckily after William the Conqueror we always came out on top, and I can’t help thinking that was what the message was about yesterday.
Up until now Nicolas Sarkozy hasn’t had too many admirers. Angela doesn’t care for him, and I don’t think even George was flattered by his dripping charm.

HRH The Prince of Wales showed that even an Englishman could outdo him,when it came to hand kissing.

HRH The Prince Phillip,seemed to really win over Madame Bruni- Sarkozy, but then he always had a way with women,and doesn’t seem to have lost it even at his age.

HM The Queen got out the Golden Coach,and put on so many jewels of immense worth that her head and neck must really ache today.

Even the great hall at Windsor Castle was used as dinner venue-everyone has Palaces.

“I have the ambition to work hand in hand with the English” President Sarkozy told us.

Does he indeed.

I don’t think Gordan Brown will be bowled over.

The Royal Family probably have not amused themselves so much in a long time.

And the crowds only came to look at Carla.

The President certainly has one thing the others haven’t

St Patricks Day is on the Seventeenth

Soon it will be time to wear “The Green” again.

And as usual tears will come to my ears when I hear this song;

Oh, Danny boy,the pipes,the pipes are calling,

From glen to glen and down the mountain side.

The summers gone,and all the flowers are dying,

Tis you,Tis you must go and I must bide

But come you back when summers in the meadow,

And when the valley is hushed and white with snow.

Tis I’ll be there in sunshine or in shadow,

Oh, Danny boy,oh danny boy I love you so

And if you come when all the flowers are dying.

And I am dead as dead I well may be,

You’ll come and find the place where I am lying.

And kneel,and say an Ave there for me.

And I shall hear though soft you tread above me,

And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be,

If you’ll not fail to tell me that you love me,

I simply sleep in peace until you come to me

Frederic Weatherly-1848-1929. Words to the tune of Londonderry Air.

I wish my Irish friends far and wide   Slàinte, May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest of your past.

Women and High Heeled Shoes

I do love shoes, I might even be a little irrationally devoted to them but there are quite a few women I believe who think like I do. Of course I can always explain that it has something to do with my past, a father that mended my shoes with leather soles half an inch thick (money was short in those days, but it didn’t stop other children laughing at them). Then there was the uniform years when I was sick and tired of lace ups.Then at last I had enough money to buy myself a pair that I really liked. They were the first of a long row of “must haves” and I won’t ever forget them, gun metal grey, with a very pointed toe and a small heel, and in them I felt like the cats’ whiskers.

The trouble was, my favourite shoes were always ones with high heels, and the higher the better, but I came from two families where all the men were six footers, and I measured 5′ 9″ in my socks. Still bearing the scars from being called “Long Tall Sally” in school, I hardly dared put on a pair of high heeled shoes unless the current boyfriend was at least 6′ 4″. Funnily I still don’t like to seem taller then men, and I sometimes wonder why?

What do men really prefer? Women loafing around in flats, or a good pair of legs in very high thin heels? Would they rather have the second even if we tower over them?

Over the years I have grown enough self confidence to wear what I like, and it seems the Actrice Cate Blanchett does that too.

The Australian star who is nearly six feet tall was seen in London at the Premier of the Bob Dylan film “I’m Not There” wearing a miniskirt and a pair of “breathtakingly high heels”

I wish I had bought the pair that I turned down last week.

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