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Gateway to the East
 

Diary of a sixty something

October 2002
Well what's happened in two months? I haven't managed to do much and feel quite despondent about it. Have I been suffering from a virus or just plain apathy? The weather at the start of September wasn't too happy either; a warning a wet and miserable winter to come?

Grandchildren coming for quick visits during Half Term. Must sort out a few exciting outings. Pantomimes not starting yet but I'm sure a visit to the cinema and lunch will be acceptable. The older ones rarely come now, they have their own social lives and visits to grandparents not very high on the list of priorities. A phone call occasionally suffices but we do miss them. (I'm sure we could pass on some pearls of wisdom etc if they would only listen - and they might teach us about the Internet, setting the video and, most importantly, how to text!!)

The planters have brightened up the end of the summer and, with a tidier Square, must be more welcoming to visitors.

The monthly markets still coming up with lots of goodies and I'm looking forward to the Autumn and Xmas wares. We've already started thinking about Christmas Hols: there has been talk in the family of an "Old fashioned Xmas gathering" I can still remember entertaining 18/20 for 5 days, sleeping bags everywhere But.... I was a lot younger then and am prepared to travel and "supervise" as my mother did!! It's a lovely idea - somehow I can't see it happening. We can look forward to all the Xmas advertising on TV - that might be an improvement on the programmes. The shops will be playing Christmas Carols and enticing us to buy "cute" presents which will be forgotten by Boxing Day!! Wonder what the MUST HAVE Christmas item will be? Looking forward to the village Christmas Lights though.

The garden has more or less been tidied up for the winter and we have promised ourselves the major task of cleaning up all the tools. Don't think the spade and fork have had a real clean since they were bought xx years ago. The lawn mower not so bad but the blades look chipped and blunted.(Add to Xmas list for husband new blades for said lawn mower)
The evenings are really drawing in now. The clocks go back in a few weeks so there will be plenty of time to sit by the fire with a book and a glass of wine. Lovely!
Salle Sexaginta

April 2002 - Hurrah!!! I've finally read that Classic. Well... it was only a minor classic, very thin and I skipped quite a few pages. It was very slow, lots of long words and even longer sentences. Think I'll stick to Colin Dexter, Mills & Boon etc in future. The days are getting longer and with the clocks going forward it's going to be even lighter. Hopefully the weather will be improving and it may be possible to get out in the garden after work. I love this time of year; everything is green, budding and full of promise. Undoubtedly my eternal battle with the slugs and snails will continue in earnest! What's happening in the Square and village? Everywhere seems shabbier than ever, litter all around and the roads deteriorating more quickly than ever. Saw the council road sweeper on one of its twice yearly visits recently. Shame there are still weeds and rubbish in the gutters. Lots of litter "growing" in the hedges and on the verges. Where has our pride in our surroundings disappeared to? Will the coming generations recover it for us? Read a lovely article entitled "We Are Survivors - for those born before 1940". It was all about our changing language. "Gay" used to mean lively and fun. "Grass" was for mowing on a Sunday afternoon. "Chip" was something nice to eat with fish or steak. Wonder what today's generation have in store? Easter was early this year, some time to the next Bank

Holidays. But there is the extra Jubilee Day to look forward to in June - and the village celebrations.

December The Cenotaph Service took on a special significance this year, even the younger generation seemed to realise it. A placard read "THE YOUNG ARE GRATEFUL", thank you. It also made me remember how many of the family have gone this year and how much we miss them.

Perhaps we will have a "normal" winter this year - more cold (even snow) and less rain and flooding. Maybe some of the slugs and snails will disappear from the garden!!! I've put in lots more bulbs so there should be something to look forward to in the Spring - the garden currently is in it's usual winter hibernation with just a few roses determinedly hanging on. How do they do it? Thank you to the Lenham Enhancement squad - noticed them a few weeks ago putting in daffodil bulbs and, with the tidying up that's going on in the Square and High Street, the village is going to look very pretty in a few months. BUT first of all came the Xmas Lights - aren't they super as usual?
Talking of Xmas, the non-stop TV advertising has been with us once again. Would all the TV Companies go bust if Xmas advertising was banned??

I can't believe we are almost at the end of 2001, where has the year gone to? It promised so many good things and yet all is dominated by the events of September 11th. Let's hope the coming year will prove happier for us all.

November: The clocks have gone back and winter hobbies and interests are coming in to their own. It's nice to settle down by the fire and read a book (no computer or Internet yet!) Or sit and chat with friends over a glass of wine. Wonder what the youngsters will be doing now the evenings are drawing in? I can just about remember my teens, going round to friends houses drinking coffee, playing the latest records (what were they?) and chatting about the latest films. Seems such a long time ago, almost another life. Certainly another world.

Half term was very quiet - no grand children. Felt quite lonely in town seeing others with their grand children in tow. Of course, they weren't as well behaved as mine!

Christmas plans now being made, who is staying with whom etc. Sorting out present ideas, trying to find something a little different this time. The shops are filling up with everything, making decisions very difficult. Everything is decisions these days - try phoning a utility and there's 3 or 4 different menus to select from. Or go out for a coffee and the third degree - "latte", "cappuccino", "espresso"? Large, small or regular? White sugar or brown? Decisions! Decisions!

Still doing bits of 'spring cleaning' but thoughts are turning to decorating. Must check out the paint brushes. Probably all stiff, hardened, unusable and sitting in solid white spirit in a jam jar! Maybe an idea for a Christmas present.


October 2001: Where has the year gone to? We're now in to the last quarter of the year, the harvest has been gathered in, the clocks go back at the end of the month and Christmas is under 12 weeks away!! Which means, of course, advertising for toys, drinks etc. will be winding up on TV.

Talking of TV - hope the Autumn programmes are an improvement on the summer ones. A load of rubbish as far as we are concerned and please can we have a refund on the licence?

Tidied up the garden - it looks quite bare now. Dug up all the annuals, cleaned the pots for next spring and saved some of the seeds - wonder if they'll germinate? Something to look forward to during the winter.

Spring cleaning still on-going. I've sorted out my spice baskets - wonder if 'Best Before Mar.99' is still OK? Another shopping expedition to arrange. Also sorted out my make-up drawer - what a mess!! Chucked away dried up mascara, out-of-fashion eye shadows etc. etc. Shall I take my courage in both hands and go for a face make-over? Yes - why not treat myself.

Half-term only a few weeks off but no grandchildren. It will seem very quiet and I'll miss them.

September: I've just been looking at last year's entry for September - nothing changes. Public Transport is still in the forefront of the news with no progress - other than backwards. Trains still not running properly, London Transport heading for meltdown and the roads all but gridlocked. The Test Matches still badly (for which side?) affected by the weather, but our own Lenham teams have managed to play in the village. It's lovely walking past the cricket ground and hearing the sound of bat on ball and cries of "Howszat?" Close your eyes (don't fall over!) and you could be back 40/50 years. Was life better then?

Grandchildren have now all made their annual summer pilgrimage but I have had to re-stock the larder completely. Managed to entertain my eldest grandson very well, a few trips to London for Museums etc. - he did enjoy the London Dungeons!! We tidied up the shed and he made noises about "inheriting" grand-dads tools. We'll see. Interesting to note many grandparents still looking after toddlers whilst mother is at work. Will they do the same for their children in about 25/30 years time? Come to that, wonder what the world, especially Lenham, will be like then? Who knows, I might still be around to see!!!!

I've now used up all my leave from work so it's back to the "grindstone". Wonder if the new junior makes a good cup of tea?


August: Spent a marvellous week on holiday with our six-year-old grandchild. Friends loaned us their ancient caravan on a seaside site. Minimal facilities but clean and friendly. Small clubhouse, paddling pool, swings etc. NO TV, NO COMPUTER GAMES, NO JUKE BOX - just old fashioned 'Cowboy and Indian' (very non PC!) type games, bikes and lots and lots of imagination. The youngsters enjoyed it immensely and so did we.

Only the older ones now for a week each - I've got a few ideas. Trips to London (if the trains and underground allow), museums, racing at Brands Hatch. Maybe even a day trip over to France. (Must find out if there will be any overtime in the autumn!)

There seem to be far more birds, insects and small animals around this summer. Is it because Foot and Mouth meant fields and hedges were left uncut and ungrazed? Might be there is some good in the bad after all - but at what price?

The earlier hot weather left the verges in the village very brown and scruffy, and the road re-surfacing didn't help much. (Did the dentist manage to keep the tar, stones and grit out of the surgery?) Must find time to volunteer some help to Chris Wheal in his attempt to clean up the village. How does Harrietsham keep so pretty and clean? What is their magic formula?

My holiday was most relaxing, no phones, clocks or timetables to keep to. Back to work now but still the last grandchild to come for four to five days. Wonder how much teenage boys eat these days?

 

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