Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Rambling


That's rambling as in dazed and confused mental meandering - not as in a hearty stride-out across the autumnal countryside - just in case you thought I'd suddenly turned into Ramblers' Champion, Janet "I'm a pensioner you know" Street-Porter.

Anyway I'm rambling for two reasons really: one, because I've had a touch of The Thing That's Going Around and still feel a bit muzzy and need to think about something other than my next dose of Lemsip, and two, because I've reached that stage in writing Never Can Say Goodbye where my finger keeps hovering over the "delete the whole damn lot and start again" button and need to be kept away from my 60,000 words plus until the moment has passed...

So - a few things that have amused me recently (and all in the name of research - just in case Broo is reading this)...

Last week, while shuffling across the estate to our local version of Big Sava via one of the rather pretty little lanes overhung with gloriously tinted trees I watched a very tiny and very elderly man tiptoeing beneath said trees, sprinkling something from a small bag. I smiled to myself at this vision of age-old rural tradition. Bless him, dressed in baggy brown cords and an even baggier beige jumper, he was one of those gentle pink and white marshmallowy old chaps, with pale blue eyes and the sort of stand-up fly-away wispy hair that babies have. He beamed as I approached and offered me the bag with a cheery "Do you like licorice, my dear? Would you like some?" Now, I do like licorice - come on, it's sweet, I like it - but I also remembered my mum's warning of not taking sweets from strangers, so I declined. "That'll mean even more for the squirrels then, my dear," he said, pale blue eyes twinkling kindly. "Oh," I said, even more touched at this demonstration of caring-for-nature, "do squirrels like licorice, then?" The rheumy blue eyes hardened as he cackled, "nah. They hates it. And I hates them. Gives 'em the squits big time -nasty little bastards."

And I've been to aqua aerobics. Once. I shan't be going back. Not to mince words here, we - the participants - were lumpen girls, clad in our uniform sturdy M&S black all-in-one-with-tummy-control-panel swimsuits. We stood self-consciously, chest deep, in neat rows in the aquamarine water, trying not to pass out from the heat and chlorine fumes, waiting for Sasha-Marie, the instructor. Beyonce boomed from the sound-system. Several of us cautiously limbered up a bit under water in an attempt to burn more calories or not fall over or both. Then Sasha-Marie, in pink leggings and a vermilion T-shirt, trundled in and stood on the pool edge in front of us. Yes, trundled. Sasha-Marie was h-u-g-e. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm kind of picky about my exercise regime (translate that as I don't have one but if I did I'd want some sort of proof that it worked), and I refuse to be pc here. Sasha-Marie wasn't pleasantly plump or cuddly - she was massive. We looked like collective Kate Mosses by comparison. With no apparent trace of irony, Sasha-Marie clapped her chubby hands and shouted "Right, girls, let's see if we can get rid of some of that porkiness in time for Christmas, shall we?". Five minutes into marching on the spot underwater and clapping our hands above our head at the same time (something I found a little bit tricky because I'm not particularly co-ordinated), we were getting into the swim (see what I did there?) quite nicely, but Sasha-Marie was still fully dressed and on dry land and puffing and panting and turning puce. Another ten minutes and were were slapping our hands together under our knees in time to Cheryl Cole. Sasha-Marie was sitting on a stool and gasping out her instructions in wheezy staccato bursts. By the time the half hour was up, we - looking like the hippo ballerinas in Fantasia - were twirling and kicking and splashing our hands happily on the surface of the pool along with Kylie. Sasha-Marie had been taken outside by the lifeguard. And when I got home I weighed 2lbs more than when I started. Aqua aerobics is not for me...

And note to self: when you're next having your hair coloured by someone who trained at A Big London Salon DO NOT say cheerfully "oh, just slap a few tabby stripes in as usual". Colourists from Big London Salons don't slap or do tabby or stripes. They do nuances and hints, and tones and tints, and shades and shimmers, and slivers and slices, and glints and glimmers, and hi-lights and lo-lights, and can have Very Bad Tempers.

We have an Old People's Day Centre on the other side of the green. The Toyboy Trucker thinks this is very handy as he reckons I'll be needing it before too long and being so close it won't be too tricky to find me if I wander off. For years we've been used to seeing bus-loads of Seniors (as our council insists we call them) being shunted off to watch the traffic congestion on the A34 or the fights in the entrance to Poundland. However, because the council (like councils everywhere) are having to make swingeing budget cuts, the bus has had to go. Now the Seniors are shepherded together in little groups with a minder to participate in activities on the green. The Teddy Bears' Picnic was a great success. Not so the litter-picking. Well, you give a lot of disgruntled pensioners-with-attitude pointy sticks and a plastic bag and you're asking for trouble, in my opinion. By the end they had more paramedics in attendance than there were at our wedding reception (another story for another blog post - maybe). This week they've borrowed someone from our FE college to teach them Tai Chi. On the green. In the wind and rain. I'm sorry, but I laughed. Thirty or so cold and wet Seniors, in a collection of puffa jackets, anoraks, hats, scarves and zip-up bootees striking poses (and each other) was like one of the more surreal episodes of Monty Python. Oh, and another thing - when I walked past the day centre yesterday they were having a sing-song. Merry melodies from their youth. Tunes from the War Years. Roll Out the Barrel and It's a Long Way to Tipperary et al. But surely, most of today's Seniors were yesterday's hippies and rock-children? Shouldn't they be boogieing along to the Stones and Led Zep?

Oh, goody - now it's time for my next Lempsip. And when I've had that, I might just have a look at the "delete the whole damn lot and start again" button...

22 comments:

Morton S Gray said...

I needed a laugh, having broken my tooth last night and you delivered! I giggled all the way through this post. Thank you. Mx

Christina Jones said...

M - oooh, thank you for giggling. So sorry about the broken tooth though. You didn't swallow the bit, did you? I did that once. People panicked. Hope you're feeling better soon. Cx

Pogostemon said...

So funny! and so true about the seniors and the song choices.
I used to teach Drama and my students were once asked to do a show for a very swish looking retirement home by their "recreation" worker. I drilled into my students the importance of listening to their audience when they were writing the show and the project was unofficially dubbed "Don't mention the war" as a result. Thy came up with a lovely sketch and song show with two songs each from every decade of their target audiences lives. They loved it , the students were beaming. The the recreation guy came up to my happy charges and said "Nice but of course you chose ALL the wrong material here. You should have stuck to the war stuff, they love all that. My poor students were gutted till I gently reminded them that they'd come up with their choices in the first place by LISTENING to their audience. Something that I fear the recreation guy was not willing to do himself.

Brigitte said...

Oh dear, giggled through the whole post. Actually can't see the keyboard properly, as I have tears in my eyes.
I love your posts, Christina - they tide me over the lean periods when I'm waiting for your new book to be written/released...
You made my day.

Debs said...

So funny. I can see why Sasha-Marie wouldn't be much incentive to anyone. What a naughty man to feed licorice to those squirrels too.

Please step back from anyway near that delete button, and I hope you feel much better soon.x

Morton S Gray said...

Hi Christina,

Yes I swallowed the piece. It stuck in my throat for a while. Dentist has put me back together and even used a new wand thing to numb just my tooth instead of my whole mouth.

Just read your post out to my friend - she howled too.

Hope you didn't delete your novel we want to read it. Mx

alzamina said...

ROTFLMAO - just what i needed after a day in court - thanks Christina! Saw myself in some of that post as well!

Christina Jones said...

Pogostemon - thank you - and I loved your story about the sketch show - so very true that Those In Charge should try forgetting what they've learned on their how-to-entertain-oldies courses and start listening. Cx

Christina Jones said...

Brigitte - thanks so much for chuckling. Glad I've cheered someone up. New book out in Feb - just been told this officially - it was going to be May but it's been brought forward. Hope you like it... Cx

Christina Jones said...

Debs - thank you. And I've left the delete button alone. For the moment... Cx

Christina Jones said...

M- oooh! A dentist with a magic wand! I love that idea! Might well pinch it. Thank your friend for laughing too - and no, I haven't deleted anything - well, not yet... Cx

Christina Jones said...

alzamina - thank you. And why were you in court? Did you get off? Cx

Lynne Hackles said...

I can't actually visualise Seniors clinging to zimmer frames, and each other, and giving a rousing rendition of 'I'm too sexy for my shirt'. Actually I can. I just did. Wonderful.

Olivia Ryan said...

Hilarious! First thing that's really made me laugh since I've been sitting with my foot up and an ice-pack on my back. (No, not some new form of keep-fit or weight loss, just horrible sciatica). Oh, and being a 'Senior' myself (yep, bus pass an' all), I bloody well hope nobody's ever going to play, or sing, anything to ME that my mother/grandmother used to enjoy before I was even born. Why do people DO that? I still go to Bon Jovi concerts for God's sake - and there are plenty of old rockers like me there every time! x

alzamina said...

LOL - had a local food place in court - £4K fine http://www.thisisscunthorpe.co.uk/news/Chip-shop-boss-s-tears-rat-infestation-fine/article-2843981-detail/article.html

latest book excellent - hope more people leave reviews for you on amazon!

Christina Jones said...

Lynne - thanks so much for that Right Said Fred mental image! I'm laughing now... Cx

Christina Jones said...

Olivia - oooh, sympathies re the sciatica. Very, very painful - hope you're up and rocking to JBJ soon as! Cx

Christina Jones said...

alzamina - ah, right. So glad I won't have to be applying for a visitors pass like they keep doing in Corrie! Thank you again for liking TWTAWH -and for saying so publicly! Cx

Karen said...

Well that brightened up a rather drab, damp afternoon!

Now step away from the delete button and go and save those poor squirrels from licorice poisoning :o)

Lindsey Smith said...

I think Sasha-Maire is most definitely a character in one of your next books!! Hilarious! Hope you're feeling better - my household is too full of snuffles, snot and fuzzy heads - roll on summer!!!

Christina Jones said...

Karen - so glad to be of use (!) - and have taken your advice - on both counts. Ta. Cx

Christina Jones said...

Lindsey - hope you and yours are fully recovered now. We're getting there. And, yep, Sasha-Marie is up and running in the new book... Cx