Saturday, 3 March 2007

Roman day went well on my birthday, thanks K and D for the offers of costumes. I wore a tunic and toga ( 2 sheets really) that I found in the costume box at school. It was fun to wear something funny on your birthday. I used my birthday badges to tie the garb up, instead of a 'fibula' as I do not own one.

I notice that the Queen eats Ryvita. On Wednesday I went to London and spied on her from the London Eye. It was a good but long day out, we did lots of walking. I got the train up with Lorna, from across the road, as a joint birthday treat for us we had a child free day seeing the sights. We walked to Sloane Square, Harrods, then did Covent Garden, Chinatown, Regent Street and Oxford Street up to Marble Arch, then did some more walking down by the river. We met some interesting people. We had chips for lunch (£1.10 for a big portion) in Pimlico, and the people in there were witty and friendly. Then there was the man in the bar, who was into model aeroplanes and had been stocking up at Hamley's. He asked us to look after his bag while he wandered off ( I assume to the bathroom). I had already seen that his bag was full of model aeroplanes so was quietly confident there were no bombs around. On the train home ( late - got in at 11.30pm) there was a fascinating gentleman who sat and chatted about his life in Zambia, his family who seem to own most of Zambia, bits of Surrey and some of Scotland, his children who are learning to play polo... you know, we had a lot in common. Mostly that we were both wondering about making decisions about work and how that would affect our children. He was deliberating on whether to send them to boarding school, I was wondering about commiting longer term to working as a teacher. I made a decision and feel very peaceful about it, having mulled it all over for a while, I feel confident that I am making a wise decision for the right reasons. I told my train man that I would ask God to show him the right path to take, so that is my prayer.

Several of you have commented that you have not featured lately in my blog, so I am here to write (sic) that wrong. Lib, thanks for the home made bag. It was one of my best presents. No one bought me Extreme Boggle. Maybe next year. Rachel, Vicky, Nicky, Rachel, ( hey - a poem) Dunc, Em, Claire, Ange, Paul, Lou, Chris, Rob, Hat... who have I forgotten? Thank you to all those people who came to my birthday drink. Even better was Kelly who sent the biggest bunch of flowers I have ever received to say sorry for getting the day wrong and not coming!

We went out for a most excellent Chinese meal in Shirley with Kelly and Alan a couple of weeks ago. It was a eat as much as you want to thing, at the Little Budha. It was an inspired choice of restaurant and fabulous company. (There you go, Kelly, can I have my £10 now?)

I was in Shirley again this Friday to have a filling. My dentist is an NHS one and is taking on new patients if you are interested. It is called ADP and is in Anglesea Road. £42 for a check up and a filling sounded like a bargain to me, compared to the price Rob pays to see his private dentist, which costs £50 just to get in the door. I didn't expect to feel dizzy and weary after a filling, I spent most of yesterday and today asleep. I did get a chance to pop into Shirley library, which is a huge and exciting bookfest for all those of you who love the library. Maybe it was being in there which made me feel tired. All this gadding about in Shirley has left me bereft of my Bitterne time. So, the reason I started this blog, to keep the wider world informed of Bitterne life, has got lost along the way.

I had another first tonight, as I went to the Bingo, in Lordshill. It was very stressful and I did not win. I do have a membership card, though, which makes me feel special, and you can take your own food and drink without feeling like you were going to be thrown out for not buying their cuisine. I was suprised how big the club was, and there were lots of men, I thought it would be all women. Some of the men were young, and so were some of the women. You have to be 18. No one asked me for ID.

As well as Shirley and Lordshill I have been overseas. Last week we were in the Isle of Wight. And, in the words of Forrest Gump: ' that's all I have to say about that.'

Before that I was in Manchester, and that was exciting. We went on a real aeroplane, and then a train and a tram, so a good travel experience. We visited the Lowry Centre. The artwork of Mr Lowry is all over the place, and there was a film about him. He comes across as a genius, but very troubled by a bad relationship with his mother, who he was desperate to please. She did not approve of anything he did, the way he saw it. I wonder if there is a mix of genius and need for approval that causes some people to be excellent at what they do - maybe many more of us are geniuses, but don't have that drive to be approved of... hey! I am not a pschologist or therapist, but Lowry seemed to do that for himself in his art.

More lighthearted and accessible were the football themed pieces of art work, some were clever, some were funny, some were serious and sad. If you are in Manchester it is worth going to this cultural quarter. We had a great fried breakfast in a cafe outside Piccadilly station, where I took a photo of a window cleaner and had a conversation with an old guy who used to be a footballer but had a head injury. He did not look like he owned much, certainly not another country, so maybe he and the guy on the train could get together and redistribute wealth. Maybe I could make it my work to get improbable groups of people talking to each other? I don't know that either of them were happy... I am reminded of the verse: 'It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are for.'

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