When the kids were younger we used to spend a couple of weeks of their summer holidays with Eurocamp in France. It was rustic and a bit basic but over 3-4 years we had some of our very best family breaks at sites in and around the Dordogne and not one drop of rain in all our trips! And we met some great friends with whom we’re still in touch 30 years later. There was a Dutch family who we befriended with 5 beautiful daughters and mum and dad Dini & Burt. They were great fun and we and another family of all girls headed up by lovely Dennis and Julie were as pally as can be. Burt, Dennis and I used to keep an eye on the kids in and around the pool area whilst playing boules and drinking the odd beer or trois. And whenever Dennis or I had an unlucky bounce of the ball on the gravelly strip we’d turn to Burt and ask ‘Why me Burt?’. It became something of a catchphrase amongst us and I’ve often thought it’s a line that could easily be chiselled onto my gravestone, given the drama that always seems to dog my simple existence.
So we are so looking forward to heading out to NYC to see our lovely daughter & son-in-law and beautiful young grandsons. We’ve both been busy as hell these last few weeks in preparation but these last few days have been quite a challenge on the patience front. And it’s also been quite a while since I’ve regaled you with one of those it-can-only-happen-to-me stories about my creaking body. Hey ho here we go again… Continue reading
Well you can tell it’s autumn because the weather’s turned crap whilst the TV broadcasters have rolled out their blockbuster reality shows. We don’t watch many but we do tune into Strictly. To me it remains one of the campest things on the box but I got castigated for my views on it before so let’s just agree it’s decent Saturday/Sunday night entertainment. Continue reading
It’s been a few weeks since I last posted – we’ve had a recent brilliantly relaxing holiday in the Vendee region of France with all my beautiful daughters, fine sons-in-law and, of course our fab grandsons (minus footballer S who was in the middle of his pre-season training programme, sadly). Apart from that I’ve been really, really busy on writing stuff. Tonight I’ve got a bit of a break on a big piece of web-building stuff whilst I await a go-ahead or otherwise. So time to do some blogging again. And the theme is underpants. Yes ladies I’m going to share some manly insight with you about how a real brutal hunk of a man chooses his briefs. Steady girls.
Well my last two postings have been a tad reflective and this one’s a bit nostalgic too, but in an upbeat way. I was explaining to Carol why I prefer mini-sized pork pies and to eat them warmed rather than cold. You can see I’m a man of sophisticated tastes. The reason is that when we were kids my mum or nan would take us shopping into town (Blackpool) and we’d queue up like dozens of others to buy some pork pies from the butcher’s called Priestley and Berry’s (later JH Berry & Sons). The pies were all made on site and the real knack was to time it to co-incide with a new batch coming straight from the ovens when they were still hot and at their freshest. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking about my old friend Steve, from Plympton, who shared a flat with me very briefly in Aberystwyth in our first bonkers few weeks at the Uni. I so hope he’s found happiness and success. I really liked him but his Uni life hinged on his relationship with a local Welsh Uni girl. But it didn’t last and after some turbulence, including a major subject course change on Steve’s part, they split. It hit him pretty hard and I spent many, many hours listening through the walls to Leonard Cohen’s So Long, Marianne on his record player before he left Uni for good and a life back in Devon.
I got to thinking about all this recently as the lady who Cohen sang about, his muse Marianne Ihlen, who died 3 years ago, shortly followed by the poet/singer, have been in the news again of late but I can’t remember why.They met nearly six decades ago on the Greek island of Hydra. She, a beautiful Norwegian blonde, alone with a young son. He, a dark, handsome, soulful Canadian poet struggling to write a novel. These were the hippy days of drugs and free love. His love song to her featured on his debut album Songs of Leonard Cohen in 1967. That song, already 5 years old when I reached Aber, seared into my mind though I haven’t heard it much since then….
Now for something completely different. I’ve been going through some website/domain reviews recently, relinquishing a number of sites and addresses that I no longer use or can justify maintaining, which has been a bit poignant. And a particularly sad farewell was for my website itswriteforyou.co.uk – a writing service I set up when I was dealing with my cancer treatment 6 years ago. It was for people who needed some words delivering – on things like CV’s, LinkedIn profiles, promo copy for business materials, website content, speeches etc. I’d let it fall fallow in recent years to be honest but was surprised to find out how many people were still intrigued by it and how many wordy/occasionally humorous blogs I’d written on the site. Loads of them. I cannot believe how much splodge I’ve written over the years. Don’t go and have a look because the site is really cack – I never really liked the design but somebody was advising me at the time and I followed his suggestions rather than my own instincts. Lesson learned. Anyway I’ll surely be re-cycling any decent blogs on pp. Ha!
But the thing is this site was my salvation when I thought my commercial life was finished because of my illness. I was right about that as it happens – so few of my many business contacts came through with work opportunities – but hey you get on with life and I ended up re-establishing myself as a content writer and marketing/social media specialist for loads of local businesses who don’t have the dedicated resources to do any decent marketing on their own. And I help people because I want to, not necessarily for the money. Plus I get to write more words – lots of them. Right now I’m writing about impactful designs for work spaces, the joys of bee-keeping and making naturally-based skin care products, sourcing fantastic furniture, the history and heritage of Brackley, gas appliance engineering, the delights of Turkey and, oddly and quite separately, Turkish cuisine, space planning as well as dozens of profiles on people in business. And I’m an expert in absolutely none of them. No knowledge but a bit of imagination, a browser and loads of opinion. Christ I sound like a speech writer for Donald Trump.
Anyway I’ve so much writing work in fact that I don’t really need the website anymore. No more requests from women of a certain age to transform their CV’s and turn them from seeming dullards into sassy, fascinating, achieving, highly-qualified, delivering, energetic, task-challenging, focused, driven, learned, uber-tasking, imaginative, super-intelligent, brain-sexy women which any company would be foolish to reject. Ah no pressure then. I’ll miss those conversations with women discussing their foibles, tiny flaws, insecurities and vulnerabilities. Men were always so dull by comparison. So I guess you could say with the end of the website it’s…
…so long flatterman.
It’s time that we stopped our chats
and for you to try and try and write your own CV again.
From one Leonard to another, here’s to you Mr Cohen
Well I’ve been doing a lot of writing for other people recently which is very rewarding but it leaves me with so little time to do my blogging. And to be honest after crashing away at a hot desktop all day, you kind of lose the creative impetus. But sometimes things happen that make you want to get some words down and express just how you’re feeling. And right now I’m feeling saddened.