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Friday, July 19, 2013

Out & About


The heat continues and people wander about with bemused expressions on their faces and the haunted eyes of those that know that this cannot last.  The Heat Wave has now surpassed previous torrid times and is officially a record of some sort.  They should try living in Spain where such heat is an everyday occurrence, though as I have mentioned previously the Spanish talk about their weather even more than we do!

Dulled by alcohol from last night I was able to find comatose relief on the quivering mixture of jelly and marshmallow that is my bed.  This was after the funeral which went as well as such things are able to go.

The range and depth of colleagues both currently teaching and also those beatified by retirement was remarkable and although the chats were short they were gratifying.

Lucy was visibly encouraged by being surrounded by friends and family and she was able to get through the day with resilience and courage.

I was roundly berated by my godson for my lack of presence in his life and the fact of my not even being there for his christening where I was represented by a proxy.  As my godson is thinking of entering the ranks of the clergy I have to say that the absence of my cynicism and cruel questioning of the tenets of religion has allowed him to “grow up in the faith” – so job well done, say I!

I took Paul back to Port Talbot and left him with the stern injunction to find his way back to Cardiff in the very near future.  That way lays his best hope, as the chances of finding a job in Port Talbot are not bright.  Still, he is going to come out to us in August and Toni and I can work on him then so that he returns to Wales determined to succeed and with a clear plan of action in his mind.

Today has been a return visit to the Culverhouse Cross Tesco where, as the last time I went to the in-store Optician last May the staff were efficient, helpful and courteous.  My eyes have changed and I might have to revisit the doctor in Spain and ask him what he is dong about my diabetes which is part of the reason for the fluctuations in seeing.  However, for the present the prescription is going to be made up, the glasses changed and everything sent to Paul 1 for him to send on to me.

From Culverhouse Cross to Maesteg via the old A48 rather than the motorway thanks to a wrong turning out of Tesco and a nostalgic yearning to re-drive the old route to my grandparents.  It is, it has to be said, a thoroughly pleasant drive and it is easy to see the progressive gentrification of The Vale of Glamorgan as what I remember as slightly tatty, but imposing houses are now restored and augmented.  Even the little valley towns and villages, shorn of industrialization and mines, look quaint and pleasant – though god knows what the level of unemployment is in these towns shorn of their economic purpose.

Uncle Eric was as responsive as ever and regaled me with stories of his chaotic ramblings through northern France and Belgium as a member of the PBI, subject to the vagaries of clueless officers and the usual mystifications during war.  His tale of the peregrinations from Abbeville and back again trying to avoid being killed by the Germans and living on half a tin of bully and two squares of chocolate and going without food for three days and trying to stop tanks with training ammunition and low powered rifles made for fascinating listening!

Eric is now the last surviving member of his 1926 primary school class and when I said that I would see him again the next time I was in the country he intimated that our next meeting would be of an entirely different nature.  I chivvied him with my expectation that he would make triple figures, but his expression of disgust suggests something else.  Still, I value my chats with my uncle and I do hope that they continue for some years yet.

Back to Cardiff and Llandaff to see my aunt and a thoroughly snide and catty conversation.  Her description of not attending a Memory Clinic was refreshingly irreverent and although she is tied to a broken body her mind is as sharp and scathing as ever!

I am now waiting for the next part of my stay in the UK when Diane will come calling to carry me off to Cyncoed for talk and table delights!
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