Tag Archives: old

Not for wimps

Road Runner 3Anyone notice how much 0ld people talk about illness and death?  It’s depressing because clearly there comes a time when it’s a subject close to the heart.

Last weekend an elderly Aunt joined us when we went out to dinner and she seemed to be having a whale of a time, laughing and joking along with the rest of us.  The very next day she phoned me to ask what is wrong with my brother.  Is he ill?  Because she’s worried that he looks ill.   Awfully tired….  And he’s lost so much weight.  I explained that he’s very tired from his current heavy workload and that the weight loss was planned, but still she probed, clearly expecting me to reveal the hidden truth.  It actually upset me and when I put the phone down I burst into tears.  The last time someone did this to me they were proved right – my Dad had passed away within the year – and I suddenly started to worry whether my brother is actually ill and is trying to hide it from me.  As my husband put it however, if you talk enough about illness and death, statistically you will be occasionally proved right.

Then this weekend we were out to dinner again with more elderly relatives.  They weren’t such happy bunnies, understandably because both have bad aches and pains that our health care system can’t, or is dragging its heels about sorting out.  A fair proportion of the conversation therefore centred around those health worries so the evening wasn’t quite as jolly as I might have hoped, but then, the coup de grace came when they started to run through a list of young friends that we have lost.

The thing is, I know exactly why the subjects of poor health and death occupy so much of their minds but I  absolutely dread getting to the stage when my conversation is peppered with who has died, or will die next. I often have to remind myself of ‘the cup is half full’ scenario and I like to think that most of the time it works and that I stay positive.  Will this all change in years to come and will I just become morose, miserable and therefore not so grand to be around?

Someone once said: Getting old is not for wimps.  They were right.

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Hoo~Doo Voodoo

Ad_lardThere now follows a Public Health Announcement:

What is mentioned here are old ‘wisdoms’ that have now been roundly debunked and should not, under any circumstances, be followed!

Have you ever heard an old wives’ tale and thought: How on earth did they come to that conclusion? / How cruel / How stupid / Were they mad? 

Last night my husband and I were discussing cats (as you do) and he told me that when he was little the other French people in the community in which he lived had advised his parents to cut off the tip of their kittens’ tails to prevent them from getting worms.  That’s a special kind of weird and horrible, now isn’t it?  How did anyone first draw that conclusion?  I’m sorry to say that they apparently followed the advice and duly sent the little bairns off to the local ‘witch doctor’ (for want of a better description).  It was, mercifully, the first and only time they did this, as presumably said kitties got worms anyway and a visit to the vets provided them with the information that they should ideally have been privy to all along.

This started me thinking of some of the other little madnesses that I’ve come across over the years. 

For instance, my mother once told me that when she had her first baby my French great grandmother told her to squeeze the baby’s head in order to close the gap (the fontenelle).  (If you see a pattern emerging here by the way, you’d be correct.  It’s not that the French have wacky ideas, [certainly not that I’m aware of!]  it’s that the French community here at that time were poor, ill-educated immigrants who were only faithfully passing on what they had traditionally been told). 

Then I remembered the special kind of crazy that was apparently happening in the first part of the 20th century – selling radioactive drinks as ‘health giving’.  Seriously!

And you must have heard the one about doctors for years promoting smoking as healthy?  No?  It’s true. If you don’t believe me, just go and Google it.

I’ve often wondered what we are doing, or being told to do now, that in years to come will be seen as completely and utterly bonkers.  We may like to think we are modern, sophisticated, wise and pretty much know it all, but the reality is that we undoubtedly still have much to learn.  Makes you think, doesn’t it?

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Bette Davis at her barking best

Ah, they don’t make ’em like they used to.  This clip comes from ‘Whatever happened to Baby Jane’.  I expect they will make a re-hashed new version of this some day soon but it would be tough to get two actresses as wonderful in the central roles of Blanche and Jane (played here by Joan Crawford and Bette Davis).  I think Bette Davis is at her barking best in these scenes.  The body language and facial expression as she stands in the hallway awaiting Blanche’s reaction are just perfect, reminding me of the insouciance of a sullen and very naughty teenager.  The trouble is, I find myself chuckling along as she bursts into cruel laughter.  Does that say something about me do you think?!

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Old charm and Easter wishes

MTarrant, 2I’ve said before here that I love old graphics and amongst other things have quite a good collection of old postcards.  I think it was such a charming practise, to send one another postcards, not just to wish seasonal greetings but even just to say hello, enquire after someone’s well-being or express how much you enjoyed your recent get together.  For me part of the joy of collecting postcards is in reading those lovely messages on the back.  It’s such a shame we no longer take the time to do this – emails and texts just don’t do it for me and certainly won’t stand the test of time.

Interestingly, many of the great illustrators were women, at a time when most of us imagine that women were very centred around the house, bringing up baby.  The graphics here are by well-known illustrator Margaret Tarrant.  Her work is much more detailed than the cards I usually collect but I love it all the same, probably because it reminds me of book illustrations from when I was a child. (There again, Sponge Bob Square Pants can’t hold a candle to these beautiful old illustrations, which were pieces of fine artwork in themselves).

I’ve picked the one below because it has an Easter feel to it and I’m wishing friends and contacts here on the web a very safe, happy and peaceful Easter weekend.  Whatever your faith, may your God go with you.

M.Tarrant, 1

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Easter wishes

Wishing all my friends and contacts here on the web a very happy and peaceful Easter weekend.

Antique Easter postcard

 

‘I’m sending you a message,

Wishing you every good,

May the fairy-folk work overtime,

To bring you all they should.’

 

Antique Easter postcard, c1900-1910

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Beadnell

Photo dependantA couple of years ago I went up to Northumberland to meet up with relatives whom I’d discovered through family history research.  I would probably never have thought to visit this part of the country if it hadn’t been for my newly found relatives but it was quite a revelation.  Newcastle itself is a wonderful city – there’s a real buzz about it with some stunning modern architecture in and around the area (The Sage, Millennium Bridge, The Angel of the North).   All of that sits comfortably beside the old and the ancient.  A fairly short drive will get you up to Lindisfarne, Hadrian’s Wall and some stunning castles – Bamburgh, Warwick, Dunstanburgh and Alnwick (the setting for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movie). 

We did some driving around and loved what we saw, including the sweet little church in the village of Beadnell, built in 1746.  Actually our visit was purely by chance, diving inside one day to escape the bitterly cold winds (it was October) but what a treat when we got inside.  This is just part of one of the lovely stained glass windows.

beadnell-ch-2891

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Freedom for George

BBC News reports that a lobster, estimated to be 140 years old, is due to be released back into the ocean off Kennebunkport in Maine, where lobster trapping is banned.  ‘George’ weighs 20 pounds and was caught two weeks ago in the waters off Newfoundland – he has spent the interim in the confines of a tank in a New York restaurant.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7821645.stm

I would think that George would have made very poor eating, being so old n’ all, but releasing him back into the ocean?  Off Kennebunkport?  I was there not so long ago and photographed these, just around the corner at Cape Porpoise….piles and piles of them:

lobster_1138

Bon voyage et bon chance George!

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