Visiting the Family (Tree)

I have 12,700 relatives, all over the world – Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand, as well as England and Scotland (so basically, come to think of it, just the post-colonial white English-speaking world). Have you ever thought about researching your own tree? It’s fascinating – I’ve uncovered mystery, heart break, and skeletons in the…

Naples – The Holiday That Didn’t Happen

Tomorrow I should have been packing to go on my holiday to Naples. Ah well. Ain’t gonna happen. I’m not the only person whose holiday plans have been thwarted. Maybe next year. Maybe. But the thing is, this trip to Naples was symbolic for me. It was going to have been my first holiday on…

Eyebrows

Have you been to the shops? I haven’t, yet – I’m going to let the excitement die down a little first. And besides, I don’t really like shopping anyway. But as soon as I’m able to, I’ll be having my hair cut and my eyebrows re-shaped. If I have to queue round the block, take…

Three Hundred Years a Slave

I’ve been wanting to write something about the riots since they started. But sitting here cocooned in my white privilege I don’t have the right to say anything. So instead I’m trying to imagine what life would be like now if those first European explorers setting foot on lands that were new to them had…

Supernumerary in South Africa

Another in my occasional series about living on a ship – my first husband was in the Merchant Navy and I did four six-month trips with him during the first three years we were married. Last you heard from me, we were heading out across the Atlantic from New York, on our way to South…

What Have You Done Today?

As we begin, possibly, to move out of lockdown and back into the world, it’s time to take stock I think. There we were, tiddling along – and suddenly we could only go out for essential purposes. Which I think forced us all to think about what is essential. We discovered that lots of things…

What is Normal Anyway?

When did I last hug someone? When did I last shake hands with someone? When did I last even bump into someone accidentally? When did I last go to a pub with friends? Or out for a meal? When did I last have someone round for a coffee? Or meet someone for a coffee? When…

How Would You Like Your Trolley Sir?

I was going to have a rant today about customers. The customers who think they know best (‘I don’t need a trolley…’) The customers who look surprised/offended/bemused when they get to the till and try to pay with cash. At this point they have walked past 4 (I know – I counted them) signs telling…

Just Lovely

I was off work last week. Let’s call it annual leave – ‘holiday’ conjures up too many memories of flights to foreign places and things that might have been. Anyway. This was the week that I should have taken just after Easter, but due to You Know What, it was cancelled. Which meant I hadn’t…

No Mow May – not

I hadn’t cut my grass for a month. Some of you may be aware of No Mow May – the idea is that you don’t cut your grass for the whole of May, thus allowing flowers to blossom and to provide nectar for the bees and any other passing insects that might feel the need….