I recently went shopping for a Christmas dress and although I found a couple, which fitted nicely and according to Dear Daughter Mine, “They looked ‘really nice”.
I didn’t buy them. Why you may wonder?
Well! Let’s face it ladies, it’s all about the belly!
Droopy boobs can be tamed by wearing a well fitted bra; those low hanging fleshy buttocks and saggy knees can be covered up by a nice pair of trousers and long top. Our height can be disguised by either high heels or low flats but let’s not beat about the bush, it is the belly area, which cannot be easily hidden!
Just the slight hint of roundness poking through the dress in that area is enough for me to panic. With a shake of my head and hands smoothing-over the offending bulge (“It’s so slight,” according to Dear Daughter Mine and “Nothing to worry about!”) the dress comes off!
Even if I tried the tight spandex underwear route (recommended by Suzanne and Trinny!) once I’ve squashed into them, those long-forgotten stomach muscles flip-flop over and out, revealing rolls of distasteful blubber!
So, my message to you younger women out there; in your 20’s and 30’s, get cracking now before it is too late! Work those stomach abs, pulverise those pelvic muscles as hard as you can. Squeeze your core until you drop because when you get to my age it’s just too late!
Watching school children in the Spanish town of Almeria brought back some happy memories of when I worked as a teacher. It made me realise that it doesn’t matter which country they come from, it doesn’t matter what gender, race, age or culture; children will be children.
The girls sit on the side lines and gossip with hurried whispers, clandestine looks as secrets are shared. They huddle together planning, plotting, laughing and giggling; happy to be together.
Boys on the other hand are oblivious to these machinations, as they are too busy racing around the area making mischief or they are so involved in their football game that only an explosion of a whistle would get them to stop!
Relaxed teachers supervise and as long as there is no blood; all’s well with the world!
Oh, happy days!
I’ve come to that certain age where I have to go through an alphabet of names before I can think of the correct one.
You know what I mean; when I want to mention dear daughter mine, I’m like this,
“Well, you know Donn-er – Kati- er- Philip –pause… Alison said!”
Or when I start to go upstairs to get something only having to come back down again as I have forgotten what it was I was going for. Or standing in the supermarket knowing exactly what it is I’m going to buy, only to walk up and down the aisles a few times until my short -term memory kicks in.
Oh, and not forgetting that safe place; you all know which one I mean, where you put things that you might need at a later date, somewhere safe, so you don’t lose it- well I’ve forgotten the number of times I don’t actually remember where this is any more.
Mind you, I think the funniest thing is that my lovely husband always said that he only married me for my memory!
Things aren’t looking too bright for me at the moment! LOL
With a slither
Of muted colours.
The top edge
Of a faded photograph.
At the peripheral
It’s a tantalising thread
Haunting in the haze.
A short breath away…
I’ll Never Forget What I Have Already Forgotten.
As they wheeled me down the long, sterile corridor of the Home, I whispered that I would never forget:
The warm sunshine shining on my face.
The sweet smell of the flowers in my garden.
The feel of soft raindrops gentle on my skin.
The iridescent colours of a rainbow.
The touch of my husband’s loving embrace.
The laughter of my daughter’s sense of fun.
The golden autumn leaves in all their glory.
The ice-cold snow that glitters with winter promise.
I’ll never forget…
The voice of the nurse interrupted my thoughts. “What was that you were saying?” she asked.
I stared at the nurse perplexed and whispered, “I’ve forgotten!”
It doesn’t matter where you go, there is a universal truth- road works are everywhere! We stopped at the Spanish town of Almeria and construction workers, near the port, were busy ripping up original, cobbled roadways and covering the surface left with ugly, black tarmac.
Such a shame!
Again, where ever you go in the world, where there are road works, there are construction workers. I don’t know if it is part of their training but they all seem to stop working at any given unfathomable time. As we walked alongside the construction site, these men were gathered together in small huddles contemplating goodness knows what! No actual work was being done, even though the section that they were supposed to be working on was a thoroughfare!
What an inconvenience!
We continued walking and saw the next activity, which can be seen everywhere. You know the one; where one man is working and three or four of his fellow workers stand and watch him!
A gentle reminder of home sweet home!
If you put two men and women at a café table having a drink and the waitress, as a courtesy, places a bowl of crisps on the table, who do you think eats the crisps?
You know, we women are our own worst enemies!
Is it just me or are airports getting bigger and longer? I know runways are expanding but the concourses are too! You can do your daily 10.000 step count just by travelling from the entrance to the gates!
It’s becoming quite an adventure having to navigate the different queues, which zig zag across the floor reminiscent of the long lines encountered in many a Florida theme park!
It’s also a hazardous place as well! You have to vigilant for rolling trolley wheels from small carry-on cabin sized suitcases being dragged behind oblivious passengers. There are hidden tiny ramps joining surface to surface. Slippery tiles coupled with unobservant crowds, intent on their own journey rather than what is going on around them can lead to bumps and spills.
What makes matters worse is that many of my fellow travellers like me have been up since 4 am and are already feeling the tiredness strain kick in as we wait for our 7am fight. Thanks goodness cafes are open for a stimulating coffee or a refreshing pot of tea! Don’t think about the prices- you’re going on holiday!
Then when you arrive at your destination airport, there is a similar walk through customs and passport control which have all the instructions in a foreign language (so inconvenient of them! LOL)
Sighs of relief can be heard when helpers arrive to steer you through the procedure. Once through there is the rush! You know the one I mean; ladies’ toilets where queues form pretty quickly. Blessed relief!
Now, onwards to the suitcase collection carousel, where, if you are unlucky, as we were on our recent holiday, you can wait for up to an hour for your cases to be delivered.
And what a palaver that can be. Everyone crowds round the carousel leaving no room for you to first grab your suitcase, let alone leave you enough room to swing it off the moving conveyor belt.
Once they have been captured, without rupturing your back muscles from the strain of heaving it off, and before the carousel whips it away, you are ready for your onward journey and away you trudge to the coach departures. By now you are becoming a bit grizzly and the new happiness of being on holiday begins to fade away.
A pointed finger from one of the overwhelmed reps shows you where you can find your coach but, quite honestly, it could be anywhere! So, like a lemming you follow the crowd and hope for the best. You manage to make the appropriate sounds of your hotel’s name and the coach driver, clearly harassed by the number of people congregating around his coach, signals you to board.
Now is the time for you to sigh, resigned to the fact that your hotel is the last drop off but hey never mind you’re on holiday!
When it comes to writing I’m a kind of feast or famine type of writer.
For months I’ve not written anything of note. A few ideas for stories, often badly formed, a verse or two of poetry and a couple of blog titles. Nothing definite and nothing developed.
I then go away on holiday, a two-week cruise visiting Spain and Portugal and suddenly something is unlocked, and creative juices begin to flow. To my delight I write every day. Nothing forced just a pleasant pastime.
So, I get back home, and daily demands kick in and my writing dries up and I stop again.
However, one day I flick through my holiday exercise books and I decide to copy some of the pieces onto my computer. No real thought behind this, just a mundane activity, with maybe a tweak here and there and then I suddenly realise that I have over twenty blogs, a daily diary of my holiday and a long fact/fiction account of a character observation (5000 words!) and I say to myself, “Hey I’m back in business!”
So, I’m posting my first blog today; first one for such a long time and we’ll see how long this feast lasts!
Tonight‘s blog has a more serious tone, as I reflect on my notes made of our last night in Sydney.
Sydney is a beautiful city and one that I have enjoyed visiting. I don’t mean to preach or judge, but just want to write down my observations of the sights and scenes that I have witnessed here.
Monday 19th February.
A mixed day weather wise; a cloudy yet warm morning with hot sunshine this afternoon and now in the evening at dusk; still cloudy and windy yet with a feeling of oppressive heat.
Circular Quay is looking a little bit worse for wear tonight, with litter strewn around; left behind as a reminder of the busy day already now passed. There is an unkempt feeling about the area, which is sad.
It is a terrible sign of our times that no matter, which country I have visited, there is the plight of homeless people sleeping on streets and Sydney is no exception.
(I mentioned this subject when I wrote about Vancouver and just recently in a writing exercise about Manchester!)
Lots of homeless appear round the Quay tonight. They hover on the corners, intact with mattresses, cool boxes and signs, which explain why they are sitting in the streets.
For example, a woman‘s notice board reads;
‘I am 35 years of age. I have breast cancer and my marriage broke up. I had to leave home due to an abusive husband and I am forced to live on the streets as I am too ill to work. I can’t afford the medicine that I need to combat my cancer; if you could help in any way.’
Or there is a man who has a sign which says;
‘I don’t want to be here. I am ashamed to be here in this situation. All I need is $15 for a bed tonight plus anything you could spare to help me out, I’d appreciate it.’
As we leave Circular Quay and make our way back to our hotel, we pass many other similar people with similar stories.
I found a quote by Linda Lingle, a republican politician who said,
We have learnt a valuable lesson this afternoon. Don’t be fooled into buying frangipani tarts; even if they tempt you with pear and apricots, as they are heavy on the tummy, never mind the waistline!
Finding shade this afternoon is a difficult pastime. It is 89 degrees, although it feels hotter. We walk along to the right side of the bay hoping to find somewhere cool, but it is now 3pm and all the spots are taken.
We end up sitting on a dirty sand -wet wall overlooking the beach, where a boathouse provides the shade. My lovely husband takes out his sketch book and paints and is happy and relaxed doing his thing.
As for me, my body protests at the way that I am siting; my shorts dig in and, suddenly feel too small and tight. “Why oh why didn’t I go on that diet!”
My creaky knees crack, as I slide clumsily down onto the wall. Nothing graceful here I’m afraid. With knees bunched up under my chin, I begin to write. The ink in my pen keeps disappearing to add to my woes and the heat is getting to me. I write an observation poem on what I can see.
As the heat haze rises,
The baking sun
Cooks the sandy beach
It meets the refreshing sea
Creating a translucent vapour.
Footprints wet and pronounced
And the sunbathers
Basted with sun cream,
Their skin turns brown,
Crispy and well done.
Sun visors and hats
Provide a canopy
And tilted umbrellas
Offer intermittent respite,
From the fierce sun rays.
The water laps thirstily
Along the shoreline.
It swishes and swirls
Offering some cool refreshment
From the oppressive heat.
Oh! Before I go; I have just spied myself 60 years ago! A little girl in a ruched swimsuit and white floppy sunhat tied under the chin has materialised on the beach in front of me. She looks adorable as she plays in the sand.
I have a black and white photograph, taken of me when I was about three years old when I was holidaying on The Isle of Man wearing a similar outfit.
I’m not too sure that I looked as adorable; however, my parents always told me the tale that one day a couple offered them £1000 for me!
Nowadays I’d be lucky to get 1000 pence!
On arrival, the bay is smaller than I expected, and first impressions are that it is not very pretty. However, the smell of fish and chips greet us as we disembark from the ferry. The wharf has the famous Doyle’s fish and chips franchise situated on the exit with a take away section as well as a café. The aroma is a tasty reminder that it is nearly lunch time.
A snack shared of barramundi and chips, under the shade revives us, and then we’re off to find the lighthouse, which is one of the reasons we travelled here. It was one of the first lighthouses to be built on the inlet into Sydney harbour.
A paved walk along the sea edge takes us to a road, which when followed, leads us to another beach around the small headland. The is Camp Cove. Now, this is a much better proposition and it is very busy with families enjoying a day out at the beach.
A quick toilet break (you never know when you will find another one!) and we are off up the hillside, following the heritage trail.
We traverse large, stone cobbles awakening memories of walking through Roman Streets in Pompeii. We continue to walk upwards, stopping every now and then to look at the vistas from the cliff side edge; a turquoise sea speckled with huge orange rocks.
The whirling sea crashes onto the rocks, reminding us of just how treacherous this inlet of water must have been to early travellers. Excitement is around the corner however, as steps down to the rocky bay lead to a pencil thin beach, which is a nudist beach! Voyeuristic snatches of naked bodies appear through the greenery. The women lie supine hiding their wares by lying front down on towels, whereas the men stand tall facing any passer-by. They parade in all their glory- browned birthdays suits are the order of the day!
We move further up the hill until the lighthouse appears. A light keeper's cottage has been preserved and the information about the shipwrecks add colour to the scene.
The lighthouse reminds me of a traditional helter-skelter slide that you find in fairgrounds; red and white candy stripes with a conical top.
It is a popular spot for taking photographs and I am amused and amazed at the seriousness, in which some holiday makers consider their poses.
One Japanese lady utters strident instructions to her long- suffering daughter on where, and how to sit! She doesn’t give up until she is satisfied. Standing next to her are two young girls in black shorts and black bikini tops. They are ultra-tanned; not super slim but their snapshots could provide a portfolio for an aspiring model. They are provocative yet innocent at the same time.
We move on, no place for us to take our photographs however, we can take snapshots further up where the views are just as spectacular. We move round the headland and make our way back down to Watson Bay.
An enjoyable couple of hours has passed by. Time for a drink and a snack I think!