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Ever seeking the magic, the slow, the simple ways of life. Give me a good book, a cup of tea and a cat on my lap and you’ve given me happiness.

Friday, August 24, 2018

My Left Foot

The day before the floor man came to level the ground floor, we had to move ALL the furniture out of the way. As you know. Because I have already bored you with the Tale of Floor. Anyway, during this process, I was managing the top end of an 8 feet tall, very heavy, made from oak bookcase and Andy was managing the other end and we were lumping it up the stairs. I was leading the way and at one point, my left foot didn't quite make it up a riser because it was getting signals from my legs and back to have a bit of a breather.

'Stop!' said I to Andy. 

However, because Andy was exerting much concentration and effort at his end (the bottom end, ergo, the heavier end) he did not hear me, carried on lumping upwards and my left foot became jammed 'twixt bookcase and riser.

'Stop! STOP!!!' I yelled, because it kind of hurt a bit. Andy stopped, I extracted my foot, we continued upwards with the bookcase (which is now lying on its side in our bedroom because when we stood it up Bambino immediately said, 'Oooh, nice climbing frame. I bet I can bring that crashing down on you in the middle of the night and scare the bejeezus out of you') and I thought no more about my trapped foot incident beyond giving it a bit of a rub.

Forward to Saturday evening and I thought, 'My foot looks a bit red. Feels a bit sore.' I gave it a bit of a rub. Thought no more of it.

Sunday it started swelling. It looked like this...

I was thinking, surely this isn't from Wednesday? But it must have been because I could think of no other reason. No drunking staggering home from the pub and falling off a pavement. No livid elephant in a zoo stamping its foot on my foot because I'd provided the wrong kind of bun. No being bitten by a snake. Andy said, 'Has something bitten you?' because the last time my foot swelled up like this was from a horse fly bite which eventually required the assistance of steroids to help it subside. 

Monday the swelling was worse. Sort of massive lump, red and shiny worse. Stiff, pain in the middle of the swelling. Up to my ankle. In fact, I was concerned enough for us to go to A & E because I thought 'What if it's broken?' The triage nurse didn't even bother looking at my face let alone my foot. Still typing on her keyboard and staring fixedly at the screen (she could have been playing Candy Crush for all I know) she said, 'I won't lie to you there's a six hour wait minimum you can wait to see someone if you really want to but you might as well go home and see your GP if you decide to do that let us know.' No advice, no concern, no flicker of a humanity behind the mask. And no punctuation either.

Oh well, I thought, thanks for that. And went home. (After paying £3 parking fee for a stay of barely half an hour. Insult to injury.)

During these days I had been administering various home spun remedy ideas like doses of TCP, bags of frozen runner beans, sitting with it WAY up on piles of cushions, massages with oat based moisturisers and peppermint based moisturisers, and trying to channel some healing into myself which I'm not great at because I'm not a very patient patient. I saw the local pharmacist who, despite being obviously busy, showed concern and humanity, and gave me some advice which basically was stay off it as much as possible, keep on with the cold compresses but perhaps not bags of frozen runners, and that it would mend itself in its own good time, I just had to be patient. Ibuprofen, maybe? No, said I. I'm allergic. Paracetemol, then.  But, he said, he doubted VERY much it was broken. I thanked him and went home to scrape wallpaper from the walls.

Wednesday and Thursday, and my left foot was under much scrutiny for signs of improvement by both myself and Himself Lord Malarkey. Lord Malarkey said, 'Go to the GP.' I said, 'If the mardy mare in A & E wasn't bothered, then I am sure I don't need to further burden the NHS by taking up a doctor's time with my pathetic concerns,' because I was still feeling narky about the aforesaid nurse, and egotistical about my injury being the MOST important thing, and not at all calm and spiritual. Besides, I could see the swelling was slowly subsiding (in a sibilant kind of way - a freebie language feature for English teachers and writers there!) and a four-hourly dose of one paracetemol all day (and even then I sometimes forgot) was allowing me to pretty much go about my daily business i.e wallpaper scraping, knitting, hen-wrangling and trying to stop Bambino eating bits of soggy wallpaper.

This morning I woke up to this...

One MAHOOSIVE bruise! Still swollen in the middle, as you can see. The Injury Epicentre, as I have fondly named it, which now covers an area of around an inch square rather than the 3 inch square area it was three days ago. Not that I'm keeping obsessive notes or anything. I know it still looks hideous but it feels better unless I press it, so I shan't do that then. But I can actually see the base of my toes and a bit of ankle bone today and I can get my welly boots on which I couldn't do at the beginning of the week, well, not without excrutiating pain anyway. 

Slow, slow progress. But progress. And I know in the grand scheme of Bad Things That Can Happen To A Person this registers only slightly on the scale, just above feeling slightly miffed that the supermarket has run out of red pepper hummus. However, it is the best traumatic incident report I can offer you this week. 

And as I said before, I am not a patient patient. I'll end on a cheerful note with a photo of Number Two Granddaughter styling out a hat...

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Small Trumpet

Woken this morning by what sounded like a small, irritating child tooting a small, irritating trumpet, I went into the garden to discover it was, in fact, a small, irritating cockerel tooting a small, irritating trumpet. 

'Is that entirely necessary?' said I, as Magnus Cockerel strutted his stuff up and down the chicken run whilst Millie, Mollie and May Hens sensibly mooched to the breakfast bar for a quaff and a munch. 

'I is being a cockerel tho', innit bruv?' said Magnus.
'You mean, you are being a cockerel,' said I, the English teacher who champions the common use of Standard English as being a perfectly good means of communication so why change it? 
'Innit tho, fam?' said Magnus. 

(Aside: the children at school find it hilarious when I use the word 'fam' to greet them in the morning. As in 'How are you, fam?' Apparently, I say it 'too posh' and it should be 'Awright, fam?' I always point out the grammatical incorrectness of this to them and they go off hooting and sometimes rolling their eyes. Still, makes them laugh...)

Magnus continued. 'Gotta keep da laydeez in order, innit tho?' he said. 'Ya know, innit fam?' He then offers his wing to me, scrunched up at the ends so I can wing bump him. 'Safe, bruv,' he says. 

I sigh. The last thing I need, aside from a cockerel, is a cockerel who insists on conversing in dodgy patois. I mean, I am aware of pidgin English as a cultural form of communication, but cockerel English? Or should that be 'cockril'? Heck, let's go the whole hoglet and spell it 'Kokril.' 

'Right,' I say. 'I appreciate that you ARE a cockerel and a very fine specimen at that, and as a cockerel part of your...er....nature...is to crow. However, I do have some standards and they include speaking clearly in the Queen's English and not pretending you come from some mid-city ghettoland. You were born on a farm in the middle of the rolling hills of Shropshire. Just remember that, if you please.'

Magnus played a bit more trumpet. The cockerel who lives next door and is a bit bigger and older joined in with a spot of tuba. Or maybe sousaphone. Yes, let's have a sousaphone. Sounds more entertaining, more exotic than a tuba. Magnus stopped tooting and eyed me, head cocked to one side.

'Seriously, ma sista, you needs to pop a chill pill, yeah?' he said. 

'Go and eat your breakfast NOW!' I said, pointing at the breakfast bar, steel in my voice and the telephone number of an elocution teacher stampeding to the front of my brain. Magnus shrugged and slouched off to the far end of the run, his jeans half way down his backside, his baseball cap on back to front. 

Saturday, August 18, 2018


There are certain DIY jobs I'll tackle around the house - painting, wallpapering, tiling, poking things with a sharp stick, walloping things to make them work (my go-to technique, especially as far as the cats' water fountain is concerned) and other such bits 'n' bobs. However, levelling and waterproofing a quarry tile floor is something that, whilst seemingly pretty simple, is a job best left to someone who has done it before and knows what they are doing and won't back themselves into an inescapable corner with wet levelling compound which is EXACTLY what I would do because I'd go at the job all gung-ho and not think it through. Like painting myself into the top of a bunk bed. Ahem...

Mark and his assistant arrived on Thursday morning at the time they said they would which instantly met with my punctuality approval. The floor at that point looked like this...

This is the dining room. The tiles were in good nick, their look spoiled only by the 4 x 2 feet area of concrete in the corner which might once have been a pantry, for the keeping of ones pants, I believe. Bambino was enjoying the tiles in the living room. Which basically means he was eyeing up that pile of detritus with a view to rolling in it.
Mark and chum examined and cleared the floor and less than two hours later it had a pale grey skim across it, through which you could just make out the outline of some of the tiles. Hence the 'self levelling' component, I suppose. We were instructed not to walk on it for an hour.

Yesterday, Mark and chum arrived and set about installing the damp membrane. Oh, the smell! Like bitumen coupled with something nasty from the woodshed it was. Andy was going, 'I can't smell anything,' and I was like, 'What???' and had to waft a jar of Marmite under his nose to test his sense of smell. Honestly, you could smell this stuff half way up the garden. Mark and chum disappeared for the 3 hours it took for the stuff to set. The floor looked like this...

All shiny, but very smelly. When Mark and chum returned they opened the French windows, in fact, all windows and doors and the smell, thank goodness, dissipated. Floor set, I took the opportunity to zip upstairs for a pee and started thinking, 'Wouldn't it be a good idea if we built a downstairs loo. It could go on the side of the house next to the studio. Oooooh....we could make an outbuilding with a loo and a sink, maybe a shower. The drain for the septic tank it there, so it would be easy to do....'

At 2.15 p.m Mark and chum took their leave. We were instructed to not tread on the floor for a couple of hours, so, feeling a bit stir crazy, we went out for those hours and an extra one, just to be on the safe side.

And this morning, the floor looks like this...

All ready for the carpenter and his floor boards. 

I expect in years to come some industrious bright young things will excavate the floor to discover the beautiful original quarry tile feature beneath. They will take the time to remove the two areas of concrete, they will visit numerous reclaimation yards in order to source original quarry tiles to fill the gaps, then spend most of the year cursing how cold the tiles are under foot because the Big Heat of 2018 was a one-off. They will chuck some rugs on top of the tiles. The rugs will get all sweaty and manky with moisture. The bright young things will decide maybe a wood floor would be warmer and drier. Mark's grandson (also called Mark in honour of his grandfather. Or Marketta if it's a girl; I don't want to be casting stereotypes around) will be called to level and damp proof the floor. And the circle of renovation will continue. 

We have to wait 24 hours before bringing any furniture back in. We shall reinstall a sofa, the coffee table and the TV on its unit, and THAT IS ALL because there is no way I'm putting everything back only to have to remove it again in two weeks' time. 

Meanwhile, I shall decorate. I have ordered wallpaper for the feature walls. It looks like this...

Friday, August 17, 2018


As you know, when I collected Millie and Mollie and Maggie and May, the farmer's wife was pretty certain that they were all lady hens, but there was a hint of high rising intonation in her 'Yeeeesss...?' response to my question, 'Are you sure they are all hens?'

The hens came home and were duly named Millie and Mollie and Maggie and May after characters from my favourite childhood poem, which goes thus...

And as I got to know the hens over the ensuing two weeks or so, I started having my suspicions about Maggie. Maggie is the tall one in this photo, black-grey-white of colour...on the left...

There was something in the way she moved, as the song goes...something bold and strutty...something in the way she always put one clawed foot on the edge of the water bowl when she was drinking, like a bloke leaning an elbow on a bar in a pub as he supped his 'Old Peculiar' pint of whatever.

And this morning, as I was tending to their chickeny needs - layers pellets, bit of bread, filling up the water bowls, I happened to notice two teeny nubbins, one on each leg belonging to Maggie. Hmmmmm, thought I....surely not....spurs? (And I don't mean the Tottenham Hot variety.)

I pottered off up t'other end of garden to release Camilla, Nancy and Nellie from their house and serve breakfast, and then, behind me, a cock crowed.

Now, our next door neighbours have a bantam cockerel. But it didn't sound like their bantam cockerel. It sounded like the crow of a cockerel who has just found his crow. An adolescent, voice breaking crow. I scooted back down to the bantams. And there was Maggie, standing tall, standing aloof, chucking back her head and 'cock-a-doodle-dooing' with all the ferocity of a hen looking like she was about to throw up a massive fur ball. Or feather ball. Do hens have feather balls? Well, my friends, it turns out that Maggie the Hen does. 

Well, that's annoying. I don't want a cockerel. I don't want my hens being hassled. I don't hold with this notion that hens need a cockerel to keep them in order. But...

Baby chicks....awwww.....

No! No, stop it! Desist with these notions. You know what happens when you have grand ideas, Denise. You do not want these lovely little lady bantams being roughed up, because that is what will happen. Look at them, all beautiful of feather and form.

Ah, but hang on a minute. Maggie is a small bantam cockerel. Camilla, Nancy and Nellie are mahoosive standard hens. They could fend him off with a quick karate kick and, in Nancy's case, a withering stare. He'll never catch Nellie, for yea verily, I've never seen a hen run as fast as she. And Camilla is almost 6. Her eggs have left the building. She could squish him like a bug. 

It's a solution. Move him in with the Old Girl gang. And then there's the name. Of course, renaming Maggie has scuppered my pretentious literary allusion theme. Andy immediately began suggesting 'Maggie' style alternatives like Mr Magoo, Magwitch and Magnum which I immediately rejected as ridiculous. But then he said, 'What about Magnus?' 

I present you, then, with Magnus. The first Much Malarkey Manor cockerel. Heaven knows what Tango Pete will have to say about it all come the annual Christmas Story.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

More House Tiddling

I often say to Andy, 'Next time I have a brilliant idea, tell me to step back from it immediately,' and he always says, 'No, your ideas are always good,' so he never does and thus I carry on regardless, crashing from one idea to another and leaving a trail of destruction in my wake. I would add, though, that the destruction generally precedes the rising of something fabulous (because my ideas are rarely whim-laden) but when we are halfway through one of my idea processes we generally wish we hadn't started and I know we are both silently cursing the day I said, 'Wouldn't it be a good idea to (insert latest idea here)?'

Anyway, about two months ago I raised the subject of a wood floor for the dining and living rooms. Andy immediately capitulated so I found a carpenter and by the time I had finished discussions with the carpenter we had agreed a wood floor, plus a bespoke office space under the stairs (computer desk, shelving, storage, that kind of stuff) and the removal of the entire bannister and spindle set up on the stairs to be replaced and the bannister rail located on the opposite wall. I told Andy of the two additional mini-ideas I'd had during the carpenter visit. He nodded. He knew it was too late to back out now.

Our cottage is pushing 170 years old. It was built in the days when damp proofing wasn't de rigeur and the most practical solution for flooring in a farm worker's cottage was quarry tiles. Quarry tiles have to breathe in order for the moisture from the bare earth upon which they are laid to escape into the atmosphere. If you put a wood floor straight on top of quarry tiles, then, you are asking for trouble. Also, quarry tiles can make for a bit of a wonky floor which is no good for laying a solid flat floor upon. Therefore, the carpenter left instructions for a self levelling compound to be installed, two layers of, with a damp membrane in between.

A flooring specialist was found. He suggested two layers of self levelling compound plus a damp membrane sandwiched in between which is EXACTLY what the carpenter said so I knew this chap was the right person for the job. And not the other guy who quoted for the job who said something about one layer of something or other which sounded like the cheap and shoddy option we wanted to
avoid. The only fly in the smooth ointment of the plan was that the carpenter couldn't start the work until 3rd September and the closest the flooring guy could get to that date was today and tomorrow because he was then going on holiday for two weeks. Ah well, minimal living we could could cope with and I told myself that from today it would be only a month before everything was done! The carpenter came out to remove skirting boards and architrave and yesterday was 'Why Did We Have This Idea?' day. (When I say 'we' I mean 'me' but Andy is excellent at standing by me as a partner in all these shenanigans.)

Yesterday I spent removing all the furniture from the living and dining rooms and relocating it to other places in the house. I went into the studio and shuffled everything into the smallest space possibly, ditto the bedrooms. Andy had banned me from attempting to move ANY of the big furniture on my own, citing the day I once got stuck halfway down some stairs under a sofa. Still, I emptied the dresser, the TV unit, the sideboard and the big bookcase and relocated their contents. I moved all cushions and throws. I did manage to get the sideboard upstairs by rolling it end on end and only had a couple of heart-in-mouth moments en route but we shan't mention that to his Lordship Malarkey, shall we? I upended the sofas and unscrewed the wooden bobbles they sit on. The sofas were my big worry about getting out of the house and into the studio. But hey! Positive thinking hat on!

Once Andy was home we set about moving furniture. Not too much swearing, minimal bruising, huge buckets of sweat. Dining table, sofas (hurrah!) and part of the dresser in the studio. Dining chairs, TV table and coffee table in front bedroom. Big bookshelf in our bedroom. Sideboard and TV in middle bedroom. Rest of dresser in laundry. Andy's ancient Ikea computer desk dismantled and ready to go to the tip because he is getting a new bespoke office space! (I feel he would rather keep the old desk because their relationship goes way back further than ours. But hey! A new bespoke office space?!)

And then came the carpet removal debacle which was when thoughts of 'Why did we start this?' really manifested themselves. The previous owners of Damson Cottage, it seemed, thought it was a jolly good idea to build two stud partition walls on top of the carpet that ran through both rooms. They gave no thought to the fact that one day, someone (e.g us) might want to take up the carpet to put down a nice oak floor. More cursing and sweating then, but the quarty tiles were eventually revealed and were in remarkably good nick.

However, it is 'bonjour et au revoir' to the quarry tiles as the first layer of compound is going down as I write and tomorrow is damp membrane and second layer day. Bambino is banished to our bedroom and I can hear him trying to burrow his way through the bedroom floor into the kitchen in order to be part of the action. Flora is being sensible and is asleep.

I like to think that in a hundred years from now someone will be cursing the idiots (e.g us) who decided to cover a period feature with two layers of compound, a damp membrane and a wood floor, thereby ruining a lovely quarry tile floor.

But for now and for us in our little cottage, it is a jolly good idea!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Ten Years and a Day

Well, blow me down if I didn't miss an anniversary yesterday. I've had my eye on it for a few weeks (got the balloons, the champagne, the cake all on stand-by) and then I flippin' well went and let it slide by. I shall just pause for a moment and watch another marble roll from the building...sigh...

Yesterday, then, was my 10 year blogiversary! Ten years I've been writing from and about Much Malarkey Manor with various enthusiasm ranging from over-zealousness to dire apathy. Lots has happened, of course. I mean, you don't live ten years of a life and expect things not to happen, but the driving force behind starting the blog was the idea that his Lordship Malarkey and I would be striving to make a move to the countryside and live in a little cottage with a massive garden and do self-sufficiency stuff like keep hens and bees, grow fruit and vegetables, brew wine, create arty crafty stuff, whittle furniture from trees, install an elephant in a tree house...okay perhaps not the last two, but you get the gist.

And what do you know? We did it! We only bloomin' well did it! There have been other highlights during the ten years it took us to get here like becoming a grannie twice, achieving some minor publishing successes, various work promotions, catching bee swarms, the thrill I STILL get on finding an egg in the nest box and the move we made from the middle of Maidstone to the middle of fields in Shropshire.

It has been 10 years of progress, sometimes slow, sometimes too fast for comfort. Some friends have gone, new friends have been made. Pets, too, have come and gone and broken hearts on their way. There have been pantomimes and Christmas stories. Oh no there haven't - oh yes there have!! There have been births and deaths, triumphs and disasters, but no disaster so great it has stopped me from thinking what a happy and fulfilling life I am blessed to be living. Even this morning, when water started leaking through the living room ceiling AGAIN I thought, this'll be okay. And within 3 hours I'd found a plumber, he'd come out, located the problem (leaky compression valves in radiator piping in front bedroom radiator), fixed the problem and gone on his way, problem sorted.

And I'd like to thank bloggy friends who've stuck with me and believed in my writing, especially Olly, Jessica, Becca, Diana and Deanna. You little shining stars, you! Your encouragement and feedbaxk have been beyond wonderful.

What now, then? I am a firm believer that if you write down your hopes and dreams then they will happen. We're here, in our cottage in the countryside. Where do I go now?

Obviously, I shall continue to strive for the massive success in fiction writing that will allow me to give up being a full-time teacher and waft around being a full-time novelist instead! And another project that has been bubbling away for a few months now is the opening of a Healing Centre. I have been involved in channelling universal healing energy since I connected to a healing circle when my sister was diagnosed with cancer 27 years ago. My learning and practice in this field have been variable over the years but the passion and intent have always been there. Suddenly, I am finding people coming my way for channelling and to be trained themselves to become healing channels. It feels the time is right to start the journey towards opening a healing centre. I can see it in my head, what it looks like and what it will offer. I don't know yet how it will come about but then 10 years ago I was saying the same about making the move to live in the countryside! I just know that by continuing to record life here at Much Malarkey Manor, I can help make it happen.

And so here's to the next ten years! You don't get rid of me that easily. xxx

Friday, August 10, 2018

Wrong number? Right number!

The phone rang Wednesday evening in the death hour i.e after 9 p.m. You know the old rhyme : 'If the phones chimes after nine, chances are someone's died.' Do you not know that rhyme? Okay, I admit - I just this minute made it up, but it is a 'thing' in our family harking back to the Seventies when we were trained it was bad form to use the telephone machine after 9 p.m unless it was to pass on 'bad news.' I digress...

Anyway, I answered the phone with mild trepidation to be greeted with, 'Hello? Is that Mr Smith?' Hardly, I thought, making a note to have my post-menopausal testosterone levels checked. 'No,' said I. 'I believe you have the wrong number.'

We've had this before, phone calls for the Smith family. Usually they are from foreign call centres and regard there being something hideously wrong with our computer followed by the kind offer to fix it for us using simple guided steps. I always decline these offers with a firm but polite, 'No thank you....SCAMMER!' before slamming down the receiver. However, this caller sounded like a confused elderly person so unless the scammers have upped their scamming game, this was a genuine wrong number.

The elderly person read out the number she had dialled, which had three digitsin the wrong order from our number so I said as much, she apologised, I said that was quite alright, these things happen and we bid each other a polite adieu.

Two minutes later the phone rang again. 'Is that the Smith family? came the same elderly lady voice. 'You've come through to the wrong number again,' said I.
 'Have I?' said she. 'I'm looking for the Smiths. I knew their aunt. She was my friend's sister-in-law and I met them a few times and they were very kind.'
'That's lovely,' said I. 'But this isn't their number. It might have been once but we've had it for over two years now.'
'Do you know where they are?' said the elderly lady. 'I'm trying to find them.'
I said that I was sorry but I didn't. We bid adieu once more.

Three minutes later the phone rang again. 'Hello?' said I. 'Have I got through to the Smith family?' said the elderly lady. 'I'm trying to find them. I haven't spoken to them for ages now and thought I'd see if I could make contact again. They were such a nice family.'

'It's me again,' said I, feeling my heart strings tug a little at the connection from this lady.
'You have such a lovely, kind voice,' said the lady.
'Thank you,' I said, laughing. 'That's nice of you to say.'
'The Smiths were lovely, kind people,' said the lady. 'I was so hoping to get in touch with them again.'
'I wish I could help,' I said, truly wishing I could. 'But they've not had this number for over two years. We were given it when we moved here.'
'Did you move into their old house?' said the lady.
'No,' I said. 'I believe telephone companies recycle old phone numbers. They don't stay with the house. So whilst this number did once belong to the Smiths, it doesn't any more.'
'Your voice sounds very young,' said the lady. 'Young and kind.'

I laughed again. 'I'm a grannie,' I said. 'So not that young.'
The lady laughed. 'I'm 95,' said she.
'Oh well,' said I, 'by comparison with your stately years I suppose I could be regarded as young.'
The lady laughed again. 'You've been so kind explaining things to me,' she said.

I said that it was okay, that I was glad to be able to help her and that, once again, I was sorry I couldn't tell her where the Smiths had gone.

'Do you know where I am?' she said, suddenly. I admitted I did not.
'I am in the Lake District,' she said. Her voice seemed suddenly stronger and brighter, as we slid into a non-Smith related conversation. 'I am on holiday in a lovely hotel. I am sitting in a chair by a big window with my feet up, and there are such beautiful views.'
'How lovely,' I said, wondering what views she could see in the gloaming of 10 in the evening.
'And I am wearing bed socks!' she said triumphantly, as though, at the grand age of 95 years old she had turned into a bed socked renegade.

 'What colour are they?' I asked.

'They are fluffy,' she said. 'They feel lovely on my feet.'

There was a sigh and a bit of a pause whilst we both appreciated the comfort a good pair of fluffy (colour? Who cares?) bedsocks can bestow on a pair of weary feet.

'I would love to know how I could get hold of the Smiths,' said the lady. 'They were so lovely, but I suppose I've left it too late. It's sad.'

I agreed it was sad but these things happen. That we sometimes lose contact with the loveliest of people for no apparent reason beyond the rapid passing of time and forgetfulness. And we agreed that there was nothing to be done, c'est la vie. I wondered, at 95 years old, if this lady had many lovely people left in her life. I liked to think she had many children, grandchildren, great grandchildren but something told me that she did not. I hope I am wrong.

The elderly lady thanked me again for being so patient and kind. We bid adieu once more. I wish I had asked her name.

There were no more phone calls.