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“Jeffrey Barnard is unwell…”

Popped over to South London to see a friend whilst Dearly Beloved was playing golf.  On the way back, switched the radio to BBC Radio 4 – always interesting but can be a little dry.  This afternoon though I caught the last part of a radio adaptation of the play “Jeffrey Barnard is unwell…”.  Always a gem, this version starred the very much missed John Hurt as the eponymous Jeffrey Barnard. The play was penned by Keith Waterhouse about his friend Jeffrey, who was a real-life journalist and piss-artist, and whose “unwell” stints usually meant “hungover” or “drunk”. He wrote for the the Spectator, a London magazine; this was the one line apology they printed whenever he (frequently) failed to turn in a column.  I remember seeing the play on stage at the Garrick Theatre (it starred Tom Conti, although its original star was Peter O’Toole). This was back in the 80s with the also piss-artist ex, when I could watch a play about an alcoholic and still laugh, although later on the irony was not lost.

I listened to it all the way back (only missing 4 minutes or so coming through the Dartford Tunnel), remembering how funny and poignant  it actually was.  A few standout moments: ‘cat’ racing – invented by Jeffrey and fellow gamblers who were missing horse and dog racing due to snow and ended when a fight broke out after allegations of ‘doping’!  Also, towards the end, Jeffery says “last week, I had an erection.  I was so astonished I took a photograph”! This made me laugh out loud in the car; John Hurt said this so perfectly it was funny and sad at the same time.

The play ended just as I pulled off the M25.  I had to turn off the radio because I wanted to think about what I’d just listened to and what I would write about.  It was a great surprise to hear the play – a tribute to John Hurt, I believe – it was well written, funny and affectionate.  Jeffrey Barnard was louch and bohemian and lived in Soho, full of other louch and bohemian men (read: alcoholics). He died at 65 of renal failure due to complications from diabetes and alcoholism.  He’d had his right leg amputated a few years before for the same reasons.  I find this sad and very close to home.  He was erudite and interesting but feckless and always looking for his next drink or bet.  Rest in peace Jeffrey.


Back in the saddle again

Hello!  I’m back again.  The last few months have been incredibly busy so I’ve not had the time or the inclination to blog.  So what’s been happening? New kitten is settling in nicely – we called her Hattie and she’s a sleek black cat with yellow eyes and the longest tail I’ve ever seen – it reaches nearly to her head.  She loves her brothers and sister and is still quite tiny, but full of life and mischief that only kittens can be.  

Dad isn’t doing quite so well, he’s now 85 and having to use a wheelchair for some of the time.  With dialysis coming up, he’s not having a happy time and I am trying to spend as much time with him as possible. 

I’ve been involved in a small way with the Women’s Marches in London – worrying about the state of the world and wondering why the human race is having a collective brain-fart.  Not mentioning any names (but it rhymes with Strump), whose bright idea was it to put a man-baby in charge  and give him the nuclear button?  My ghostly grandparents, who lived through and fought in two world wars, are wandering around my house moaning and wailing and shaking their metaphorical chains in horror (I’m guessing – I’ve yet to meet my granddad coming out of the bathroom, but it nothing would surprise me). 

Brexit was another little gem. The UK Government gambled and lost, and then the leaders ran away, yelling “it wasn’t my fault”!  I’m pretty upset that we are leaving Europe, something I think the UK will regret sooner or later (I could be wrong, I know).  

I’ve taken up tai chi.  Its amazing!

Be back later 🙂

Losing and gaining

I lost my cat.

I have (or had) six, two girls and and 4 boys. This one, Millie was my baby. A little tuxedo, with a black face, white bib and beautiful white paws. She was loving, sweet, funny and mine. The other girl, Gracie, loves my husband with a passion, but Millie was mine. The boys are, well, cats – always out and about, doing this and that, catching things (and letting the things go) and only coming in to eat or sleep. But Millie was mine.

My husband found her 4 weeks ago on the grass outside our house. She had been run over, although that wasn’t immediately obvious. I cried to two days solid and am still tearful. My sister once said that cats take your heart and then break it. Its true, not just of cats though.

My Dearly Beloved could not stand my sadness, and had bought me a new kitten. More of her later.

Happy Birthday…

Today was my husbands birthday. Very domestic I know, but that’s me – domesticated! We went for Indian food Saturday night with my sister and her husband and a couple of his friends – it was a great evening. Then Sunday we had his daughters over for a tea and cake (golf themed!); I bought him a new putter (golf nut), a knitted BB8 and took him for lunch, it was very pleasant and he’s had a great day. Particularly since he also looked at a new car and has decided to buy it. 

It’s so different these days. We’ve been married 6 years, second marriages for us both and we get on ridiculously well. We have different interests and hobbies, so we bring different things to the party, but we support each other and encourage each other. Different.

My ex-husband was an alcholic narcissist and, coincidentally, his birthday was 3 days before. Both are the same zodiac sign, but very very different. The ex was not social and had refused to talk to his family for years. I was not allowed to talk to them either – hell, I was barely allowed to talk to my own. I tried to make a special day for him, but over the years he alienated all his friends so they dropped off one by one. He could be very charming, but very antagonistic. 

This isn’t really about him though – it’s about how different my life is now. My newish spouse is loving and giving, a gentle man and a gentleman. I asked him today how he would have spent his birthday previously. Mostly ignored was his response. I cannot understand that – even had I not been deeply in love with this man I now share my life with, I would still have wanted to make the day special. And that’s his gift to me really, that I can and he lets me. 

Old songs and late nights

Every now and again, we indulge. The iPad comes out and YouTube gets turned on, Dearly Beloved likes to play old songs to me. And I mean OLD – 50s, 60s and 70s mostly and I have to guess the singers or the title of the song! I do quite well mostly, or if I know the song well I sing along, badly – I haven’t sung since I was at school, but I love singing so – the lovely old tunes do get me going – Simon and Garfunkel especially. Tonight it’s been the 60s – “he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”, “it never rains in Southern California”…

Omg, now it’s Gilbert O’Sullivan! One of my first albums was one of his, Claire I think, along with TRex and Elton John. Bridge over Troubled Water was a favourite – I still know all the words!

And then I heard David Bowie and I was lost forever. My first boyfriend, Ian, first introduced me to Aladdin Sane – a guilty pleasure even now. My real education began there, not just musical but he coloured my teen years and beyond – the Prettiest Star took me to places I’d never have gone on my own. We miss you David.

Loving the shoes

Its Valentines and we are very lovey-dovey although we don’t bother with cards. Dinner at a local bar and grill tonight, and DB (Dearly Beloved) bought me a pair of black baseball boots! How many pairs of shoes or boots can a girl have? For someone who is not a girlie-girl, the answer is (in this case) – quite a few! We won’t be spending the day together as he is playing golf tomorrow. He is club captain this year so it’s understandable! My dad is staying tonight (story another day) but it’s nice to spend sometime together tonight.

Here we go then…

“I’m a writer”, are words I’ve always dreamed of saying to a new acquaintance. My imagination has always run riot, words bounce around in my head but life keeps tilting the table and, up until now at any rate, I’ve ‘not had the time’, ‘work  to be done’ blah, blah. So why now? My relatively new husband (he still has the ‘shine’ on him) suggested blogging so I’m going to give this a chance and see if it helps unblock the block and get those words out of my head and onto paper, or at least into the ether where I hope they may entertain or mildly amuse!

This is my page and I’m going to write down what comes into my head, although I doubt it will follow any set pattern or theme. I will write about astrology, astronomy (I love science articles), the past, the present, my hobbies (eclectic and diverse), the people I love and anything else that might come up. Comment may happen on politics or not…

So, here we go then…