Thursday, 4 September 2014

Living life on hold

My last posting promised I would start blogging again in early-September and here I am, except we have still to move because of delays caused by the London solicitor of the person buying our house. It all revolves around one issue — access along our privately owned road, albeit that it is a right of way and has been for decades. So, for the past month life has been on hold, boxes packed, except for clothes and the kitchen. There have been all too few occasional enjoyable diversions, a walk for TravelRight, a visit from our grand-daughters and going to Derby yesterday to meet up with close friends from Stoke.

Natalie is a nursery worker in Birmingham and brought her work with her in the shape of the teddy bear in a sailor's uniform. It seems that all the staff are taking it in turns to record a week of their life in Teddy's company, so Natalie had taken photographs of Ted on the bus, the train, in the car and eating lunch with us. He also fitted in a visit to our bedroom to meet our resident bears — apart from the oldest Ted, who has been with Susan since Christmas 1950, all the others have been rescued or placed in Susan's care. 

Natalie is good company and what pleasure she and Laura gave me as children has been eclipsed by the sheer joy they bring as adults. She really is an independent woman, with her own front door and life.

Laura lives in Leicester, where she began working as a vet at the end of July. Her first job after qualifying a couple of months ago. Both of them have tenacity by the bucket-load and banter at every opportunity. It is funny to watch and listen to. As kids it was hand-to-hand combat.

In their company, our moving problems were forgotten.

Yesterday, we took ourselves off to Derby for the day. Just thirty-five minutes on the bus from Lenton and into The Quad for coffee, where our friends from Stoke were waiting. Into the Guildhall Market to buy Italian fig jam and pyclets, then off to Bennett's department store (the oldest in England) for an early lunch of Eggs Benedict with smoke salmon. One of my favourite eateries, the Eggs Benedict so good that I never get around to having anything else. Susan had a Tuna Salad. We then walked to Pickford House Museum on Friargate to see an excellent temporary exhibition, albeit small, of Derby townscape watercolours and paintings. I first visited this gem of a museum in the early-1970s whilst a Birmingham city councillor and a very young Chair of the then Midlands Area Museum Service (which is how I came to meet Susan, but that's another story). Back in those days it had a strong focus on children and still does in some ways, as the photograph taken by our friend Rosie shows...

Which one am I? Paul and I put on a impromptu show for the ladies in the children's room. Instead of Punch and Judy, they got a chicken and a duck!

When we left Pickford's House, we made our way to Derby Museum & Art Gallery, just a few minutes away. One of my favourite museums and one I visit more often than Nottingham Castle. It feels friendlier and now has a fantastic tearoom on the ground floor, close to the entrance, run by the Museum and not some outside contract food company. Like Pickford's House, it also caters for big kids like me, as this photograph shows.

It really was a perfect day and, for a day at least, it will protect me from the doldrums which have otherwise overtaken me. Susan has just read me an e-mail telling us that our life remains on hold and, with every passing day, the fear that we will lose the little house we have found in Beeston increases. The whole process of moving house has cut into me like a hundred knives. Once I was laid back to the point of horizontal and heard it said by others. Not now. I have a nasty suspicion being seventy is part of the problem. I have a life to lead and lots to do before the clock stops ticking, so perhaps the fight back starts here.

On the plus side I have written a couple of decent 'flash' stories which I have entered for a competition — something I have never done before. One might stand a chance, the other I like but almost certainly does not have enough 'location' material. We shall see.

Now I'm off for some massage therapy in Beeston and there will be no more blogs full of self-pity. I promise!

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