Monday, 27 February 2012

New Week

Dorothy rang last night after the Rome conference. Things OK and Julian had a successful trip to Barcelona.

I plan to have lunch this week with Romy, to have a curry on Saturday night, and perhaps to have Madeleine here for lunch on Sunday. Dorothy assures me that no one invites people to lunch or dinner at home any more and they all go to restaurants. This is an alarming trend which must be stopped at once. Apart from the financial outlay, or the danger of eating at inferior cafes, eating at one's leisure at home is much more fun. Cooking is also fun, especially if one chooses simple dishes with good wines. I managed to resist the temptation to book yet another Groupon for the tasting menu at Les Trois Garcons. This was on offer today and was a huge temptation, but I knew I could not really afford it. Though it is only £60 for two, by the time you have purchased a modest wine, bought coffees and paid the service charge on the full (discounted at over 50%) amount, it does in fact come to £120, which though I think is fair for what is on offer, is beyond my pauper's purse. Not to mention the difficulty of finding someone reliable to dine with me - they charge 25% for non attenders. Ah well, farewell Les Trois Garcons - they had just started to recognise me when I appeared there.

I have quite enjoyed cooking for the few friends I have, and think they have enjoyed themselves too. Fortunately, despite 'Come Dine' and all the cooking programmes on TV, there are still some people who do not expect a cheffy presentation of fanciful food, and who still enjoy 'plain' home cooking.

Despite this I find myself glued to the TV's Hungry Frenchman. This is Raymond Blanc, of whom my mother was very fond. She went to Le Manoir when it first opened, and I was happy to give her a couple of birthday lunches there. Seems M. Blanc showed her around his kitchen gardens and found time to chat about them to her, which she greatly appreciated.

I have to say that whatever he may be like in his private life, his warmth and great enthusiasm about food comes over really well in the programme. I particularly enjoyed the extract from Lyons about eating andouillettes, which was very funnily parodied by Harry Hill last night.

This reminded me of my second husband, when eating out in France, who, when told that English people did not like andouillettes, insisted on ordering one. When it arrived it literally smelled vilely of steaming poo. Without expression he ate the lot, somehow maintaining his equanimity to an extent, but I wish I had taken a snap of the expression on his face at the time. Needless to say, I had taken the waiter's advice and ordered a steak.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Unsuccessful Attempt at Thai Dinner

Having bedecked myself in diamonds and pearls, set forth for my Thai dinner. Unfortunately I had put the wrong night in my diary. 'Senile decay' they used to call it. Quite rightly it would seem, in my case.

Fortunately I had the last of some soup I had made, and defrosted some Stilton which I crumbled into a toastie. Divesting myself of my jewels and smart dress, I watched some catch-up programmes on my ipad before reading some old Wilkie Collins things which I had downloaded for free. Currently reading After Dark, which is good fun once you get used to the old-fashioned language. Downloaded some more Gaskell too so I shall have stuff to read without spending money. Wish I could download free food from Ocado.

Weight stayed the same this week. Although I managed a couple of lower calorie days, I suspect I overate on the other days. I shall attempt this supposedly successful method at weight loss for one more week, though the willpower is somewhat lacking, before no doubt reverting to my former system, which though extremely slow, seems more reliable. I may have to reduce the calories generally, since I have been plateauing for far too long. We shall see.

Dorothy and Julian due back today or tonight. Have missed them.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Unsuccessful Attempt at Starvation

was supposed to eat 500 calories today but ate 900. Still no homephone from O2. I keep thinking it will somehow miraculously reconnect itself but they have spitefully kept it off despite my having to pay for the service. The longer the disconnection lasts, the more I think it is deliberately aimed at making me ring premium numbers on the O2 mobile.

Quiet day and a few mails from Nibby and Pierre in Canada. Feeling rather jaded for some reason. Dorothy in Italy and Julian in Spain until Sunday.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Domestic Disasters (continued)

The boiler locked out again this morning when I was trying to run a bath. Reset it and it now seems OK. I have lost the turquoise specs I was going to wear today so I am hunting through the whole house for these, so far without success. If I find these I can go out and do a bit of minor shopping and replenish my cash supply after the £60 payment to the dental technician, who does not take cards. I am spending far too much, but most of this seems to be on essentials, such as visits to the dentist etc. so not sure quite what to do about it. Go toothless, I suppose.

It's a case of cry, and you cry alone this morning.

Maybe things will improve later. I could do with a laugh.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Dentist and Rainy Day

Visit to dentist involving another £60. Christ, how does anyone live on a State pension? Good thing I didn't have to pay O2 a hundred and thirty to visit and possibly fix the mess they caused. Would rather do without the phone. So still no home phone of course.

Pissing with rain outside, but fond memories of Julian's most excellent pancakes last night which helps with the misery. I wish I could make these really well. I may try some time, though I expect a lifetime's experience would help. I have only tried sporadically.

Earlier I planted several hyacinths in the garden. I have a pretty blue hyacinth in a pot inside still and some mini daffodils from M & S which were only £1 a pot. So pretty and the hyacinths will scent the living room. Amaryllis still flowering away but will be over in a week or two.

The birds have certainly been making inroads into the fat balls in the garden. I bought a huge box of fifty, so have been replenishing them almost daily. The fish are enjoying the new weed I put in the pond. The little dark fish is growing a bit and becoming slightly more orange, which is now coming through the dark brown scales.

Really Makes you Sick

Now Blogspot has taken away one of my posts. It is stuck in drafts and there appears to be no way to actually publish it so it stays there. I may give up this fruitless blog. Ah I have made it come back. Unfortunately without the editing I had attempted. Never mind, things make sense with it there. I must go and lie down for a bit...

And On...

So I have given up for a day. No house phone so unless people ring me I am relying on the mobile. As soon as Tesco get some cheapies in I will invest in one of these just to be on the safe side for when O2 spring another unpleasant surprise on me.

At least I have been able to phone the boiler people. The boiler keeps shutting itself down and I keep resetting it. The engineer is coming on 5 March so let's hope it holds out until then, especially as Nibby is due to arrive on 8th.

Last night Julian invited me for pancakes. Julian is going to Barcelona for a few days today, and Dorothy is also going abroad for a conference. They will both be back on Sunday.

We had borscht, which was delicious, followed by the best pancakes I have ever eaten - lovely and thin and firm with crispy edges. Julian tells me to use 8 tablespoons of (I think) self raising flour, adding a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar, two eggs, a teaspoon of white wine vinegar mixed with a teaspoon of baking powder and slowly pour milk in until when you hold a spoon up the mixture is thin, but forms a continuous ribbon. Leave overnight preferably before using. Julian uses Barbados type sugar and does not toss the pancakes but turns them carefully lifting them with a wooden flat spoon edge. This seems to make a lacy, very professional thin and gorgeous pancake.

Served any way you like, but we had preserved strawberries and sour cream, lemon, sugar, maple syrup and various jams. Fabulous.

Dentist today for new false gnashers.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

It Goes On...

Finally, by using someone else's phone I managed to speak to a person. They completely reset my mobile which is now working.

Boosted by this I was stupid enough to ring the 0800 number for homephones using my mobile. I was cut off about six times not sure if they were hanging up or if the reception is just so bad in my house, its not good.

They asked me to do all this plugging and unplugging, but I had to give up when I nearly fell over trying to unscrew the plate from the wall plug as instructed. They said an engineer would charge £130 to call and deal with it, so I suspect I will just have to accept that I will be paying for a phone which I cannot use in future. It does take calls, which seems to me to imply that it is something O2 have done to it.

Also, on the central heating, I thought I would be clever and boost the system as it keeps locking out, but then discovered the red key which lets the air in has fallen off so I can't do this. Can't find it so an expensive call on my mobile to the heating engineer will have to be made. Another 0800 number I expect.

Actually I am beginning to wonder if the whole thing is not some elaborate plan by O2 to make life so impossible for their customers that they will give up using land lines altogether and be forced to spend much more on their mobile calls. Hmmmm.........this may sound a bit paranoid BUT..

O2: the Nightmare from Hell

Had some difficulty finding the undertakers to collect the ashes. My mobile kept saying 'no service'. Emailed my son to see if he had any ideas. Then paid the bill by internet, before discovering I had then paid it twice. Picked up my homephone to call them, (also O2) and the line was dead!

Emailed and twittered about it frantically. Guess what? they email me back saying I can look at my bills and TEXTING me a password to the phone they have disconnected! They will repay the money but have not reconnected my mobile or homephone.

Then the boiler broke down. Not being able to ring the company I went out to buy a cheap mobile. Guess what? W H Smith do not sell them any more and Tesco have none in stock, (which they discovered after I waited in a long queue and the woman in front of me paid £49 for several packet of fags all in small coins). So I can't afford to pay £25 for a mobile to ring up about this. So should I have a medical emergency I can't ring anyone to get help. Thanks, O2.

Hope it doesn't get too cold tonight or I shall add hypothermia to their crimes against me. I suppose I could leave the electric oven on overnight with the door open.

You might think that a) they would warn you if they were going to cut you off, or b) if you paid their bills by direct debit they would not cut you off. A lesson to learn is that it is obviously never a good idea to have your home phone and mobile with the same company, and preferably, neither with O2.

I am still without any phones at the house. I shall attempt to email the central heating insurers.

Just not my day.

Shrove Tuesday

Long bus journey on the 188 to collect the ashes of my ex from Albins. They came with a certificate of cremation which needs to be produced if anyone is going to take them abroad. They were very heavy. Albins provide a very smart carrier bag containing a rather grotty dull brown urn which has a decidedly secondhand look about it. I may decant the ashes into several smaller and more tasteful containers at some stage.

Anyway, I suspect my ex would have smiled as I placed the ashes beside me in the bus seat 'reserved for those of limited mobility'. First time I have been in a bus with him for about forty years. Oh well.

Now all we need to do is save up to have a long weekend in Barcelona to scatter some ashes in the sea and have a memorial dinner in his honour. I suspect that we may do something similar in London too.

Dentist again tomorrow, to have a new top plate with some false gnashers. Not before time as the current one broke last night as I unwisely crunched a carrot and a tooth and bit of fake gum came off leaving a rather sharp edge. It is now wearable enough for cosmetic purposes but not for actually eating with so I shall eat chez moi until tomorrow. Pancakes, no doubt.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Out Again

Had a call from Alice, who apologised for abandoning me last night and said she felt very guilty, as she should. Apparently she stayed very late anyway so it was a good thing I left.

Rushed off to the pastels exhibition at the Mall Gallery. Some were quite good, and had a cup of hot chocolate to cheer the chilly day. Then we sloped off to the Chandos for a drink, and were later to meet for a meal in a cafe, but I decided to come home. At the Mall gallery I met a cheery Scottish lass called Marie who housekeeps for a Duchess in London. Marie is an absolute sweetie who had been caught up in some strange religious community demanding no makeup or fun and complete celibacy. She eventually escaped this ghastly regime after many years having finally seen sense and is now wearing makeup etc. etc and has a boyfriend. And is living somewhere smart looking after her Duchess, who is apparently very nice, in London.

The jazz singer I met is keen to visit the Toulouse-Lautrec when she has time, and told me about a place in Battersea called le Quecumbar which has jazz and where she sings sometimes. Apparently it specializes in Django Reindhardt type music. Tomorrow they have a group from Barcelona. She says it is really good fun, so may try it some time. Though the Toulouse Lautrec is closer and I have a Groupon for this.

Bloody cold, and returned to many complaints from Kooky about the lack of luncheon and a late dinner. Must try harder.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Feeling Guilty

I had become very impatient with my ex because of all the things he seemed to have forgotten, but eventually put this down to impending Alzheimer's. Now having found out that he died of cancer of the bronchus with multiple secondaries, I realise the poor sod must have had secondaries in the brain, which would explain much of his behaviour in the months before he died. Hindsight, but I still feel bad about being so cross with him. What we don't know is whether he knew of the cancer. It would be unlike him not to mention it, but who knows?

On a slightly lighter note, sallied forth to Thai Silk for dinner and drinks where I met a couple of chatty women who both happened to live locally. My mobile rang and it was Alice, who said she was feeling lonely, and decided to join me. I therefore arranged to go to the later dinner sitting. I had arranged for 6.30 as I like to get home early, but changed this to 7.30 for Alice.

Chatting away for what seemed ages, we suddenly noticed the bar had completely emptied into the dining room, but no sign of Alice, so we kept her a place and went in, I assuming that this was the second sitting. I had to keep stopping the staff from giving Alice's seat to other hungry diners, which became a bit embarrassing. Just as I started to eat, Alice appeared. Seems she could not find the place and had been texting me. I had also not seen the time properly on my watch, so had started dinner an hour early at 6.30. However Alice refused to join us because she was not hungry and said she would sit and chat with me and then eat at the second sitting, and I would sit and talk with her during this.

After I had eaten, Alice got chatting with some other people I knew who were going to the 7.30 sitting. She then walked off to eat saying she could chat to my friends while she ate so I should wait for her in the bar! I know the original mistake was mine, but I was a bit put out. I decided that she was obviously not that keen to see me, but just wanted company, so texted her to say I was a bit tired and was going home.

Actually despite saying how shy she is, Alice does seem to make friends very easily, so I was not too bothered about her. I was quite glad to be back home at around nine, as it was becoming very cold outside. I may not hear from Alice again. Oh dear! She may become my ex NBF.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Totally Knackered

At lunchtime went to the V & A. Met Julia and the others and saw the golden orb spider garment which is stunning. Then had a tour of the theatre department and a talk from the guy who runs it which was very good. It was boiling hot and there were masses of children, it being half term, but it was bearable.

We then set off for a short break in a pub, before a rather long walk to the Art Fair. I was too tired to look at much, and arrived back at around 5.30 having walked around for most of the day. If I don't lose weight doing this I shall be amazed.

Tomorrow is a Thai dinner in the evening, and nothing during the day, unless I meet Dorothy earlier, which would be good.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Another Day

And I have been taking some notes for a story I may get someone to write, but I will need a better writer than I am. Oh well, no doubt more will be revealed.

Shopping for a simple kitchen timer I have just realised there is one on my phone, so I can now time my teabag saturation.

Good night.

More Amaryllis

3 Minutes for Tea

Watched a very interesting programme on telly last night about food. This time it was about our favourites and whether they are good or not. I suspect it was sponsored by the food industry. Anyway it turns out that tea is terribly good for you, but you must let the teabag or whatever steep for at least three minutes and up to seven to get your full antioxidant effect. Also you can eat as many eggs as you like without it materially affecting your cholesterol. I also picked up a slight fag-end of some dietary advice on a radio programme, implying that high protein and low carbs are very good for boosting weight loss for some reason which is different from the usual ones presented.

Meetups 'r Us. Went to Yayoi Kusama on Monday. Now going to: a free guided tour around the V & A costume dept, followed by a visit to the Royal Academy Art Fair; a £10 Thai dinner; a visit to the Mall Galleries to see a pastels exhibition followed by a meeting in a pub; a curry evening in the City; and She Stoops to Conquer at Southbank. These are just the outings I have booked so far. Must try and make it to a French speaking outing. Have been too knackered so far. All this has come at a very good time, just as I retire, and apart from Nibby coming to stay and practising drawing on my ipad, mucking out the Augean stables at home etc., will give me plenty to do and look forward to. Amaryllis is now out, above.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Lunch with Romy

Met up at Lye Torng for lunch. Romy kindly bought me a wonderful black and white scarf which is ruched and elasticated and has lovely textures. From Spain of course. Remind me to put lippie on before taking a snap in future. Wickedly, she also bought me lunch so it's my turn next time.

We had a long chat about work, my ex, my rellies, her rellies, my cat, her cat and so on. Duty called but she may pop back for a coffee later.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Lost at Bankside

Attempting to get to Tate Modern which is very close to where I live, I took instructions from my iphone and caught a 344 bus, which theoretically took me close to it. But there were huge building works going on all around it, and though I could see it, it was very hard to find the entrance, since I had approached it from an unfamiliar angle. Didn't help that it was freezing cold and drizzling and I had forgotten my umbrella. Finally got in and purchased a ticket using my Art Card which reduced the price to a fiver which was handy. Eventually about fifteen others turned up. I met Alison who had worked for Ernst & Young for six years in Barcelona and spoke fluent Spanish and Catalan, and had a Catalan boyfriend. She regretted leaving Barcelona, but said it was no longer the same place with all the financial troubles. Really cool, wish I spoke good Catalan.

We went up to the Yayoi Kusama exhibition which was great fun. No one can dash through an exhibition as quickly as me, and the 'best bits' as far as I am concerned, are the infinity cafe, then the last two rooms, including her latest large aboriginal type paintings in the brightest colours, then the last infinity room, which is fabulous. Pity you have to walk through with crowds of people. I could have spent ages just standing in the middle. Oh well.

Kooky thoughtfully woke me up this morning by swishing his tail and knocking a glass of water all over everything on my dressing table. Deliberately, I swear.

Succumbed to Temptation

and ate two slices of the tart, which, by the way, is quite good. The addition of grated orange zest over the top before baking is worth trying and would add something to most tarts. Sliced up the rest which is now in the freezer and will come out for guests if I ever have any.

I cannot believe that I managed to miss all the people on Saturday, but given that I only knew one, it was hardly surprising really. Must try harder. Going to the Yayo Kusama at Tate Modern today with them so hope I find them. It's a bit warmer outside today. Not sure whether Romy is back from Spain yet. We must hook up sometime for lunch.

Nibby still in Canada, and am thinking about them all. Kook has become a little 'bitey' recently, and I had a nip from him this morning to wake me up finally. He starts off by tickling my face with his whiskers, then rubs his face against mine for ages before losing patience and going for the jugular, so to speak with the teeth. Bastard. Robert upstairs is still curious about him and if my door is open, always looks out for him. Robert is learning to speak and is now walking quite well. Takes me back to when Dorothy was small.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Like This -

Whether you eat it or not I leave to your conscience.

n.b. I cannot guarantee it is any good since I haven't tried it - yet.

True Confession

What I made today (above). Oven to around 200, unroll some puff pastry (handily provided already on suitable paper to cook on) on to a baking tray. Prick with a fork. Mix a couple of tablespoons of flour with the same of sugar and rather more ground almonds. Beat up with an egg and add dry ginger and I added a bit of Disarronno and milk. Thinly spread over the pastry before covering with fruit. I used blueberries and raspberries. Sprinkle sugar over the top and dot with butter. I zested an orange over the top, too. You could sprinkle with slivered almonds, then cook for about half an hour. You can eat hot or cold and dust with icing sugar.

Here's the Shard

Heard that Whitney Houston has been found dead in a hotel room at 48. Shame to die so young.

Non Meetup

Staggered off to Southbank where I had written in my diary that we were to meet at EAT. Hung around for ages, then went to the Festival Hall and saw no one, so took some snaps of the funfair and texted Dorothy who invited me over for coffee. After coffee we went to the Latino place in Southwark Bridge Road for brunch, which was fun. Apparently there is also a good American place nearby.

Nibby mailed to say she had arrived with swollen legs which were reducing a bit. Advised her to keep them up for a while. All reasonably OK in Canada, and at least the temperatures are a bit higher there. Thinking about them all.

I hope to have a fairly lazy day today but must put in some practise with the Brushes app on my ipad since my attempts are still pathetic. I find that there is such a delay between applying the stylus and actual marks appearing, that results are totally unpredictable. Oh well, must persevere.

Took a shot of the Shard on the way to Dorothy's. Julian excited about the new studio.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Oldie Scandals

Reading my Oldie, it is becoming more like the News of the World: Apparently Queen Victoria may have had an illegitimate daughter by Ghillie Brown, sent over to live in America. In the same magazine I find allegations that Sir Jimmy Savile sexually attacked handicapped young girls and all hushed up by the BBC and others! Where will it all end?

One alleged scandal in a publication is enough, but two would seem excessive. Is this just a coincidence? Or an attempt to boost sales? I think we should be told.

Cold and Quiet in SE1

Cold continues. I am trying lots of thin layers. Still fat as a pig but losing five stone definitely makes me feel the cold more. Heating still on constant. Have been buzzing around locally a bit so not done much else, but rediscovered Sarastro while visiting town so may suggest this to Christophe and Victorine for a baroque meal out. We shall see.

Nibby did her first visit as part of her residency in a local gallery and is designing postcards to be sold for a national horse charity. I caught up with her last night, but unfortunately Pierre from Canada has been rushed into hospital so she is getting the plane there today and won't be back until 8th March at the earliest. Sent my best wishes and I will be thinking about her.

Still thinking about my ex a bit. At the end of the day, he did what he wanted, and his entire life was spent battling against the rest of the world in many ways. But I remember when his mother had to go into a nursing home, and he offered to go and look after her at home instead. Hopelessly unrealistic but a kind idea just the same.

Finished the House of Seven Gables which was a bit of a nightmare in many ways. Though easier than Henry James all of these New England writers somehow seem similarly longwindedly chasing after subtleties. Oh well, I have the choice of Trollope or Gaskell next.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dental Fitting

today for new upper plate. £350. Phew! Oh well, could have been considerably worse. Today, I evilly made a tart. Unrolled some pastry, shortcrust, should have been puff. Sprinkled with about 100g ground almonds, then covered with slices of apple, quite roughly, then sprinkled with sugar and dotted with butter here and there. Added a little sprinkled cinnamon, then stuck in a hottish oven for half an hour or so until a bit burnt. Sprinkled with icing sugar. I ought to throw it away, but suspect I shall sample a little and may freeze the rest. We shall see.

A further search for information revealed my exes GP. Apparently the next of kin (my son) can write in and apply to see his medical notes. Seems he is the only person who is entitled to do so. Also appears that a JP signature to verify birth certs etc carries no weight with the Treasury. I have agreed to take the originals in on Thursday, with any other information they require to see. All a bit gloomy, but there it is.

Blood test at the GP tomorrow. I shall be going out drawing on Saturday if the weather is good enough. Still trying to decide whether to take a sketchbook or force myself to continue with the ipad. May take both.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Lunch with Dorothy and Ed

Les Deux Salons in William IV Street, handily near St. Martins in the Fields and the Portrait Gallery, is quite old-fashioned looking, and inside, even more so, but is apparently fairly recently open. They do an excellent lunch for around £15, three courses, so we chose this. Ed has now finished uni and is about to start work in Auckland in a week. Meanwhile he seems to have almost travelled all over the world doing his 'grand tour' before real life sets in. Dorothy managed to join us for lunch, which we really enjoyed, catching up on news from New Zealand and the family.

A quiet afternoon and evening. Now reading Nathaniel Hawthorne 'House of the Seven Gables' downloaded free on my ipad - having just read 'Night of the Assassin'. All good fun. Also recently finished Mrs Gaskell's 'Mothers and Daughters'. I have another Mrs Gaskell and some Trollope downloaded ready to read. So good not to be cluttering the house with even more books.

Dentist today, and quack for bloodletting tomorrow. How medical my life has become. Still toying with the idea of 'speaking French in a pub' tonight. Good idea but not sure I can face going up to town tonight in this weather. We shall see.

Snowy Lunch in South Ken

Dreadful tube problems yesterday. The snow had settled during the night, so I went out well prepared for the cold weather, very warmly dressed. I arrived at Piccadilly Circus to discover the Heathrow tubes were cancelled, so took the tube back to Embankment to get the District Line to South Kensington. Ambled along to the pub, where I met quite a few interesting people, including a chemical engineer (must find out what that is), then to Christies to look at lots of paintings exhibited for viewing before the auction. I have to say I am now seeing my own artwork in a better light. There was some good stuff, and I quite liked the more affordable Picasso ceramics. There were also a couple of lively paintings by someone called Theo Tobiasse, born in Lithuania in 1927 which caught my eye. They were quite cartoonish images of people in Paris, and very jolly.

I left quite early, feeling rather tired - probably overcome by the large roast chicken lunch and whisky Mac I had consumed, to have a lazy afternoon.

Had a call from Concha in Barcelona who had heard about the death of my ex. She and Nicos had been a bit shocked to hear the news, but are coping quite well - as she said, she had not seen him for at least ten years, and Nicos had not known him well.

Meeting my nephew Ed, in town for lunch today. His cousin Dorothy hopes to join us for a while if the pressures of office life allow. It would be good for them to meet again, and Ed says he is looking forward to it.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Great Send-off

Yesterday attended my last official function: A pantomime and lunch at the Brick Lane music hall with the trustees, staff and punters.

It was great fun. Romy had reserved me a special table and a punter sent a very good bottle of champagne to this, starting things on a very positive footing. There was an excellent lunch, and I somehow had a call of nature at an inopportune moment, forestalling any reply I might have made to the Chairman's speech as Romy stood in. However, I was presented with: about 20 cards some with small gifts and money; a large card with 100 signatures from wellwishers, a gift box containing some Vera Wang Princess scent and other products; a year's subscription to Period Living; three antique glove boxes (something I had been look for for a long time); a huge bunch of flowers, and a cheque for £300. I was quite overwhelmed by all these gifts and handshakes and kisses from people wishing me well in my retirement. I shall write a note to thank everyone in the next newsletter. I had also had emails from our hamper providers and our major investment company. I am still a bit stunned by all this kindness.

I feel a bit of a fraud somehow, since I was just doing my job. Oh well.

There's a wonderful smell in the sitting room. Several blue hyacinth bulbs are now in bloom.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Damned Cold

so I decided to put my central heating on constant but at a lower temperature, about half way on the thermostat. The house is now much warmer and more comfortable day and night.

Dentist visit. fortunately I was able to have a white filling with a pin but needed a rather expensive xray. The whole thing was £120. However I need a new top plate for my false teeth, which will come to around £350. Still, I will eat, which tends to wear things out. My dentist complimented me on my very good dental hygiene, and said I now looked much younger than I had three years ago when I saw her last. My kind of dentist!

Today I am visiting the quack again about my back. I am supposed to have seen the hospital about this but have not yet received an appointment. They probably ration appointments for those over 60, so I may have a long wait. We shall see.

Tomorrow is my last official invitation - to the pensioners annual party. According to the Chairman I have a standing invitation to all of these parties in the future. I suspect this may well be the last. The death of my ex has certainly reminded me rather forcibly of my own mortality. I shall have to make the effort to tidy up all my papers - I find the deeds to my flat in a weird place the other day, which shows how necessary it is to sort out all the rubbish. I currently have about ten huge files and at least three or four drawers, despite having got rid of masses of stuff recently - about three huge black bags. Oh well.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Les Trois Garcons

Is where I dined last night. Actually caught the 35 bus and it was absolutely freezing outside, despite warm clothes. Arrived early and started with a large Scotch to warm up. Kate joined me, and the menu was excellent. The service was also good as usual, and Evon joined us for a coffee after dinner. Altogether an enjoyable evening, but fell by the wayside and got a cab back. I just could not face the icy cold again.

Still tired this morning after a rather sleepless night, thinking about my ex. I felt the later part of his life was very sad, but Nibby pointed out that he lived just as he chose even though this was not the way most of us would want to live. I suppose I should be glad not to have to worry about him any more, but still...

A call from my successor yesterday. Seems there's a trustee meeting. Quite nice not to have to go to this and arrive home really late tonight. On the other hand, I am visiting the dentist today - not my favourite pastime. Oh well.