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Have You Met Pseu? I Have!

17 Sep

I had a visitor on Friday, the lovely Pseu.  Although she takes a mean photograph, she is a little camera-shy.  However, she agreed to allow a rare photograph to be taken, as proof that she was here:

She came, as all good visitors ought, bearing gifts:

Really thoughtful gifts, prettily arranged in a basket:

  • Writing Magazine, because I write
  • Earl Grey loose tea, because I drink Earl Grey tea
  • A strainer, because I…well, let’s not go there
  • A bottle of South African wine, which is where all wines given to me should come from
  • A bag of Maltesers, because anyone visiting me without them is refused admittance
  • And a delicate vase, for which she omitted to bring delicate flowers, but I let that pass.

As I said, truly thoughtful gifts.

I gave her a piece of paper and a cardboard box.

That reminds me of when our Anglican church was based at the local Methodist church for a couple of years: when we moved on to our present home, the congregation of St John’s commissioned a beautiful banner of half a rainbow, to match one that we had, of the other half of the rainbow.

We gave them a tin of biscuits.

&

Pseu was a delightful guest, if tall; and we had a lovely afternoon together.  I forced myself to make lunch:

And I even cleaned up, in her honour:

She arrived as I was washing the toilet, but I’m not showing you a photo of that. Unless there’s a demand for it?

I’m pretty sure I remembered to wash my hands before serving the food.

*

I interviewed Pseu a couple of weeks ago, and I saved it for today, so you could share in the fun.

TLH:  What’s the weirdest request you have made/someone has made of you?

PSEU:  That’s a trade secret.

TLH:  This interview might be a little duller than I had envisioned…  How many colours has your hair been?

PSEU:  When I was little I was blond. It didn’t last long. By the time I went to school I had dark brown hair. Since then I have been darker brown. I tried henna once in the 70′s but it didn’t change my colour at all. Occasionally I’ve had low lights – hints of copper, little glints of gold. They never looked natural, and I’m not a great one for artifice.  Maybe next time I should come back as higher maintenance?  Currently I’m going silver at the edges, so my hairdresser kindly combs a little colour to match my own. So not very exciting there, hey?

TLH: Well at least it’s an answer…  How do you feel about misplaced apostrophes?*

PSEU:  I read Lynne Truss’s Eats, shoots and leaves and agreed with her every step of the way.

TLH:  The right answer.  It’s why I let you through my front door.  Can you do a foreign accent?

PSEU:  I’m pretty good at a Welsh accent, boyo.

TLH:  Will you share an embarrassing moment?

PSEU:  When I first met my Cyclomaniac, he wasn’t a cyclomaniac, but a medical student.  He had a red rose delivered to the ward where I was working as a student nurse.. it was Valentine’s day, but he didn’t realise I had days off.  So a few days later, when I came back on duty the whole ward knew about my rose and presented it to me, in front of the desk, so everyone could see.  I didn’t even know who it was from and took an hour or more to stop blushing.

TLH:  Sweet!  I’ve got one like that at home.  Annoying, aren’t they?  Tell us something about yourself you haven’t yet shared in your blog.

PSEU:  I passed my driving test when I was about 26 because no-one does district nursing on a bicycle any more, and it was about time I got my act together.  I wanted to get out of ward nursing.  It took two attempts to pass.  I had given up on learning at 17, without even trying the test, as I found my father very difficult to learn from.  I nearly gave up at 26.  I’m glad I didn’t. (Nowadays I would have reported the instructor for intimidation or harassment, or something, but we didn’t do that in the 80s).

TLH: What are you reading at the moment?

PSEU:  I’m currently reading several things…including September’s Good Housekeeping (in order to try out a few new recipes), the latest issue of Prole - there’s some good stuff in this magazine (and I’m looking to see if maybe I could write well enough to submit something!).  I’m also reading Dark Matter, a ghost story, by Michelle Paver (a gift, and not my usual style of book) and The Children’s Book by AS Byatt, (though not progressing very well with it).  In the queue: Engleby by Sebastian Faulks, Temples of Delight by Barbara Trapido and Brief Lives by Anita Brookner. Well that’s just a few in the queue.  I have a propensity to buy more books than I can read…often in second hand book shops.  My read books are in alphabetical order, in a bookcase.  My unread books are not (though my spice rack is).

TLH:  What would you give up rather than your computer?

PSEU:  I’d give up TV, but DON’T take away the radio. (Please).

TLH:  Could you give up blogging?

PSEU:  I feel I’m a little addicted, so it would be hard.

TLH:  Tell us why we should read your blog.

PSEU:  My blog is a hotchpotch of glimpses. I love taking photos, especially close-ups. I like to write and the blog is an outlet for that, and I love the interaction with those who come to visit and to make comments.

Photograph  ©copyright Pseu at Pseu’s blog.

Not a dull interview after all; and I hope it tempts you to visit Pseu at her blog, where you will see some fabulous photography, at the very least, and read some interesting poetry and snippets about her life.

Thank you, dear Pseu, for the interview, the gifts and, best of all, the visit.

Viv’s Not Dead

8 Aug

This is a first for me: an epitaph about someone who is not yet dead, nor likely to be (stray buses permitting).

*

Viv’s Epitaph

She arrived.  Survived.  Made those around her smile.
Whatever age she was when she died,
it was too young.
Her many friends mourned.

She tried; she often succeeded.
Sometimes not: she made mistakes, like anyone.
But none her friends – so many friends -
ever needed to forgive.

She tried it if it was new,
if it was interesting, if it was fun,
if it was challenging.
If it was necessary.

She made things: beautiful things,
lots of things – quilts and poems
and children and devoted friends,
so many friends.

She was never mediocre.
Tart, upon occasion; and also kind, generous, warm.
Valuable and valued.  More will remember than will
ever forget, this great loss to so many friends.

*

Viv is my next interview subject and I include this poem to give you a flavour of her before we start.  Viv wrote her own epitaph in response to a prompt and I felt she was too hard on herself.  I took her various statements and put my spin on them.

Viv and I met through the Open University.  In 2007, the year we both took the OU’s Creative Writing course, another OUer set up an online critiquing forum. Which means the first thing Viv and I probably said to each other was, That doesn’t work; try this.

Viv writes lovely poetry.  She excels at traditional forms, forms that I’m afraid to attempt myself.  They often come almost perfect from her pen and don’t need much tweaking.  She has been published quite a bit.  And she only took up poetry in her late sixties.

Viv makes the most sumptuous quilts.  My family owns three of them and covet more.

She has a real joie de vivre, which I knew online for four years; and finally enjoyed in person, when we met last year: Viv and her charming husband Jock invited us to visit their lovely home in France.  We laughed the whole time and it was as if we had never not known each other.

I apologise that I don’t have a photo of Viv by herself.  I don’t know how that happened; I probably couldn’t bear to be away from her.

Let’s find out a bit more about Viv:

How many colours has your hair been?  

Brown, pepper and salt, reddish, blondish, white = 5, of which all but two came naturally.

Who is the most annoying celebrity?  Why?  

Does that twirly-moustached idiot on the Go-Compare ads count?  We have to mute the TV when he comes on.

How do you cook eggs?   

Let me count the ways!  Boiled, poached, scrambled, fried, omelettes, French toast, in Scotch Eggs,  baked in cakes and meringues,  broken into  a well in a sausage pie and… and…  Or were you after a teach-in?

[See what I mean about tart?]

Karaoke: with or without alcohol?   

Never been, so I’ve no idea

Can you do a foreign accent? 

Yes, I’m like a sponge for picking up ambient accents.

Will you share an embarrassing moment?  

Off the top of my head?  Lost in Somerset, leaning out of the car to ask a passing pedestrian the way, IN FRENCH.

Tell us something about yourself you haven’t yet shared in your blog.

Could there be such a thing?  It’s all there for the world to see.    Ummm, I used to smoke.  Any use to you?

What would you give up rather than your computer? 

Alcohol – but I hardly drink at all these days, so that would be easy.  Is that cheating?

How do you feel about misplaced apostrophes?  

Rabid, and I blush down to my toenails if I find I’ve done one inadvertently.

[See why I love her?]

Tell us why we should read your blog. 

I don’t know.  It’s a mystery to me how I get so many readers.  I do my best, but it’s not funny, there’s nothing special about my poetry and  it’s a bit of a mish-mash of: (mostly) poetry prose, pictures, fiction, food and (I hope) some fun.

**

*

For those of you interested in history, Viv’s war memoir is worth a look.

Go visit Viv at her blog, Vivinfrance, and then come back and thank me.  I nagged her into starting a blog so I deserve all the credit for unleashing this lovely woman onto the world.

Interview With The Grannymar

25 Jul

 

I think interviewing other bloggers is a nice idea.  I will be doing it intermittently and I will begin with Grannymar.  It is her reward for guessing correctly that I speak the truth, nineteen out of twenty times.

I had better start with another truth: Grannymar is an imposter – she’s not a real granny; it’s a nickname:

The name Grannymar (one word) was conferred on  me when I was in my early twenties and I love it. The guy who gave me that handle nowadays drives a 100 miles to take me to lunch and then drives all the way back home again!  

Can you believe that?  She gets a free lunch!

Grannymar has a great blog; see it here.  She posts photos from her travels, especially of sculptures, which I love.  She talks about her life; she shares recipes; she tells jokes (many of which you will have seen on this blog); and she has an active social life with her toyboys.  

Let’s ask her a few questions:

How many colours has your hair been?

My father always referred to my rich auburn hair as my ‘crowning glory’!  (A girl needs some help when she is as thin as a skeleton with the covering skin the colour of putty with a supersized coating of dirty freckles in summertime!)  With the years nature has slowly faded the freckles and the colour from my hair, the gold has turned to silver about my face, but from the back view it now looks like dark brown.  Tilly, I suppose the question you are really asking is if I ever added colour to my locks?  The answer is: No. I never had any desire to.

Who is the most annoying celebrity?  Why?

Since I do not have a television – by choice – I manage to avoid being force-fed what so-called celebs are doing, wooing, eating, not eating, or generally how they are misbehaving.  So I am really unable to answer this one.

How do you cook eggs?

I love eggs boiled, baked or even caked, but when time is at a premium an omelette makes a quick and tasty meal.  Two or three eggs broken into a bowl and mixed with a fork to break the yolks and barely mix them through the whites (DO NOT BEAT).  Pour onto a hot greased pan and working quickly, draw the setting egg in towards the centre with a spatula, then tilt the pan to spread the uncooked liquid egg.  Repeat until all the ‘runny’ mixture has gone.  Sprinkle with scraps of chopped cooked ham, spring onions, tomatoes, cooked mushrooms or cheese.  A little filling goes a long way.  Fold over in half and serve with a salad or chips if you are feeling naughty.  Serve immediately!

Karaoke: with or without alcohol?

I do take a drink, but it is not necessary for me to be a fun player.

I have been to Karaoke, called to the stage, and tried to sing!  It was when Elly, my daughter, was at University in Scotland.  Back in those days I earned my stripes on my visits to see her, by being dragged to the students union, karaoke, pub quiz evenings & Sunday brunches where they read the papers and did the crosswords.  The excuse for bringing me was that I would be able to answer the ‘old’ questions!  Some of the grey cells still work! ;)

Can you do a foreign accent?

I do try, but it works best if I am imitating someone I know from another country.

Will you share an embarrassing moment?

Only one?  My life has been full of embarrassing moments but most have been chronicled on my blog (I am not shy!).  I am struggling to think of one not written about already. Nothing new comes to mind so in true Blue Peter  style I will give you a link to one I prepared earlier: An Idea  

Tell us something about yourself you haven’t yet shared in your blog.

After six years? My blog is me! I have at this stage even morphed into my blog handle. Now let me see….

I have a scar on one of my fingers from the time I broke a caravan window trying to reach a toyboy… I was inside and he was outside….

Now you will have to wait for the full story until I blog about it!!

What would you give up rather than your computer?

Chocolate!

How do you feel about misplaced apostrophes?

As somebody who has and still struggles with spelling and grammar, if I was to worry about misplaced apostrophes…I would never open the laptop!

I get my message across in my own way.

Tell us why we should read your blog.

Because it is another wet day and you cannot go out to play!

Because I spout some rubbish almost everyday.

Because you can read about my Toyboys – but no stealing!!

And finally…

Because I offer you a very warm welcome.

*

And as an honest blogger, I can verify that last statement.  Go on over to Granny’s blog and say hello.  You’ll get a warm welcome!

*

All photographs copyright and courtesy of Grannymar.

 

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