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Saturday, 3 September 2011

A Postcard from SW19 - Staycation Snippets

Tunbridge Wells
The sun gods chose to ignore my plea and so Tuesday's visit to Tunbridge Wells was overcast and chilly. Never mind, I was there for a purpose - to visit every one of the 14 charity shops in the town. I went prepared with a town centre map, a list of the shops and a bag of carrot batons for sustenance.

It was a long schlep but I visited them all. About halfway, I realised the carrot batons wouldn't see me through and refueled on a slice of home made broccoli quiche and a skinny cappuccino in a small cafe whose interior opened out into a branch of Cotswold clothing and equipment shops. I sat eating my lunch staring at a display of thermal gloves and hiking socks.

Tunbridge Wells wasn't as elegant or refined as I'd thought it to be and the charity shops weren't bursting with worn once designer cast-offs but I caught the train back to London clutching a carrier bag of pleasing purchases. A brand new pair of shoes for £6.50, a worktop saver for £2, a collectible Sylvac bowl for £3 and a kitsch souvenir of Gruyere plate for £1.

Wednesday
Due to go to Bexhill, slept instead.


Romford and the Ritzy
Not a shopping destination but a visit to my friend Beth and my baby god daughter Rhiannon. It's only the second time I've seen Rhiannon and, just like at her christening, she was fast asleep. We finally got her awake after much prodding and clattering about. She opened her eyes, gave me a smile and fell back to sleep in my arms. Beth and I left Rhiannon with her gran and went for lunch and a good catch up.

Full to the gills from our Loch Fyne fish lunch, I headed back to London to meet my pal Paul. We were going to The Imbetweeners at the Brixton Ritzy. It was crude, smutty and very near the knuckle ...... but then we finished our conversation and went to see the movie.

Friday/Saturday
The sun gods came good. I spent Friday afternoon on the sun lounger in the back garden, reading my book, listening to Gershwin on the Ipod and inhaling the woody newness of the garden fence.

On Saturday I made another attempt to get to Bexhill. Nope, still couldn't be bothered to get up early. Instead, I took the number 200 bus away from the chicken shops and mini marts of South Wimbledon, up the hill to the boutiques and eateries of Wimbledon Village, where I sat outside the Rose and Crown with a guilt-free slimline tonic and a guilt-laden cigarette, watching the well-to-do of Wimbledon saunter betwixt designer shops, al fresco lunch dates and the organic grocers.

Tomorrow (Sunday) I'm flogging all the useless crap I've accumulated at Battersea Car Boot Fair, in order to get money to buy more useless crap.

Next week I may get to Bexhill.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

On the second day ...

Tuesday
A low start to the day, yet another visit to the dentist, this time to the hygenist. All I seem to have done lately is pay people money to inflict pain on me. Too many more sessions of being invaded by needles and other sharp instruments and I'll have to declare myself a masochist.

As levels of discomfort go, teeth cleaning scored a modest 6 compared with recent treatments - root canal treatment 9, tooth extraction 10, temporary crown fitting 8, ingrowing toenail removal 8, mammogram and breast biopsy 100+. Something I wasn't prepared for was the deluge of water from the hygenist's instruments, at one point I felt I was being waterboarded. Still, my teeth, if not pearly white, are now a shiny ivory, the stains of a thousand cups of black coffee and tea blasted away, along with most of my makeup.

The rest of the day was spent browsing the charity shops of Putney and East Sheen, dodging the rain, which held off long enough for me to enjoy a pint in the sun at a pub by the river.

Browsing clothes racks, book shelves and bric a brac is a tiring business, when I got home I fell straight to sleep . The cat, who sleeps at least 22 hours a day, thought fit to wake me up at 8pm, presumably so I would feed her. She's asleep again now whereas I'm wide awake at 1.15am, writing this and watching a signed repeat of Coast. I don't think tomorrow will be an early start.

Monday, 18 July 2011

It may be winter outside .....

It's all very well holidaying in sunny climes but really, what can beat a week at home in London? There's so much going for it.

For a start, there's no need for expensive and time-consuming preparations: my wardrobe is uncluttered by garish sarongs and reinforced swimsuits, constructed to give shape to a marshmallow body; my porcelain skin is unspoiled by orange-tinted chemicals and my bikini line remains an untouched area of natural beauty.

No need either for expensive flights, my annual travelcard gets me to wherever I want to go, providing I don't venture into the exotic territories beyond Zone 3- and even if I do, I won't need to take my passport or give myself a headache trying to mentally convert euros into pounds whenever I go to buy something.

Of course the one big downside is the weather. Having said that, on my last two weeks off around Easter, the weather here was hotter than Spain. Not this week however, rain has been predicted for the entire time. Not to worry, the great outdoors can wait. Hello, the great indoors.

Monday
Took the doctor's advice and started the day with some excercise. Set my Wii Just Dance II game to 'Just Sweat' and gave it all I had - I didn't have much.
Then off to the Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House, it's free on Monday mornings. There's a good Toulouse Lautrec exhibition on at the moment, in addition to the regular French Impressionist galleries. I felt myself transported back to 19th century Paris and all but can-can'd my way down the Strand - must have been the absinthe.
Back at home, I settled down to watch The Beach. France in the morning, Thailand in the afternoon, who knows where tomorrow will take me.

To be continued ....

Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Rot's Set In

I've been 50 for eight months and, true to popular belief, since reaching that milestone I have suffered a rapid physical decline.

The eyes were first. Reading glasses have had to be replaced by varifocal lenses. Adjusting to them was difficult. It took weeks of jerking my head around like a cat trying to follow a fly before I managed to perfect the varying degrees of chin tilting required to watch tv, read a computer screen or see what I was eating (my exciting life summed up in a nutshell). But when I did, the world showed itself in wonderful HD, only to highlight the dust that had accumulated on my skirting boards.

Then came the teeth, or rather then went the teeth. Toothache turned into a root canal infection, turned into a tooth extraction. Whilst I wait for the socket to heal before I can have bridge built to disguise the offending gap, I'm having to hold my mouth like a ventriloquist so that I don't look like a country cousin when I say 'cheese', 'please' or 'knees'. As for smiling or laughing - well, there's nothing much to laugh about, especially as the bridge is going to cost over £1,000. You can get a facelift for that in some Eastern European countries. On the upside, if I keep talking like this for much longer I'll have the makings of a variety act. With an interesting puppet I could be on the next series of Britain's Got Talent.

Did I mention my knees? There was a time when they might be a little sore the day after an all night rave. Now, if I'm sat at my desk for more than an hour, when I get up to walk to the coffee machine, I hobble and wince like an old cowboy who's just crossed the desert on a saddleless horse. Back in my raving days I never thought that I'd still be taking drugs at 50 - I am but they're all on prescription and instead of getting me high they merely keep me from going over the edge, just.

A recent 'Well Woman' health check revealed that I was anything but. Whilst it was a relief to be told that my poo checked out ok, I wasn't happy that my wee had too much of one thing and not enough of something else; my cholesterol was 'extremely high' and my weight not that many pounds away from me being officially classed as obese. (Which makes me wonder, is there another classification after obese or is it an inifite category? What do doctors call those great big fat bastards you see in the supermarket pushing trolleys full of pizzas and cakes?) It's hard to believe that when I was 32 I weighed 8st 12lbs and thought I was fat. 8st 12lb! My handbag weighs that much now, mainly due to all the prescription drugs I have to carry around with me.

I've been told by more than one doctor that exercise is the answer to my weight and cholesterol problems. But how to exercise? It used to be clubbing and sex that kept me trim and fit but now I'm too old to do the former, I don't get the opportunity to indulge in the latter, the two being extricably linked. Even if I did get the chance, the likelihood is my knees would let me down and I'd have to just lay there - with my glasses on and not smiling.

Until next time, keep healthy.