Monday, 26 November 2012

Another lost day; or, not necessarily what I was going to talk about

My two smallest cousins appear to be singing My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean. They are prone to bursting into song at the slightest pretext. I discover that I like this very much in children. It makes me think, in an idiot sentimental way, of the moment in The Sound of Music when Christopher Plummer looks at Julie Andrews, and says something like: Fraulein, you have brought music back into my house.

The Smallest Cousin finishes singing and comes and gazes at me, quizzically.

‘Are you doing your blobby blob?’ she says.

She laughs immoderately. She is four years old. She clearly thinks that doing The Blob, as the children call it, is a fairly absurd activity, and she might be right.

‘Who are you sending it to?’ she says.

I explain about the Dear Readers, all around the world. I feel stupidly proud, as I tell this small person that I have readers in America and Sri Lanka and Australia and New Zealand and parts of Africa.

‘Have you been to Africa and Australia?’ she says.

‘I’ve been to the very northern bit of Africa,’ I say. (Egypt; one of the greatest trips I ever took.)

‘Do you go on a plane to Africa?’ she says.

‘Yes,’ I say. ‘You could go on a boat, but it would take a very long time.’

She thinks for a bit.

‘I’m not sure they have very much stuff,’ she says. ‘I’d have to take some stuff for them.’

She pauses. ‘There are not a lot of rich people in Africa,’ she says. ‘But there are some.’ Another pause. ‘Maybe one or two.’

She raises her eyebrows. ‘Or four rich people?’ she asks.

This is because of school. They do charity drives; the children fill shoe boxes and send them off. I think how funny it is, that the children of Africa still live so large in the minds of children in Britain. Forty years ago, when I was small, I was told that I must eat up all my supper because there were people in Africa who had nothing to eat.

It’s a lovely thing, in some ways; it makes you appreciate your great good fortune. It leads people like the remarkable Martha Payne to raise money for Mary’s Meals. But I remember being struck by a piece on the Today Programme a couple of weeks ago about Sierra Leone. It is most famous here for the civil war which split the country; now its economic growth is at mighty percentages which any European country would dream of. Not all the children of Africa, it seems, are going to bed hungry. One should not, I remember thinking, write off a whole continent, in a simplistic, patronising manner.

I lost another day today. There was so much to do, and so many things to think of, and so many deadlines to meet. I had logistics a go-go, and some possibly life-changing emails to send. The rescue gent comes closer. There are just some things I must show and tell; mostly that I have a safe garden and that I am a responsible adult, not some random nutter. I sincerely admire the rescue people for their care; they are kind and reasonable in their requirements, and I feel happy and pleased to try and tick all the politely requested boxes.

Part of the thing was to send photographs; I had to trawl through old files. I saw picture after picture of my lovely old girls. I missed them so much it was like a hole in my chest.

But then the four-year-old comes up and sings a song and asks about the blobby blob and worries about the people in Africa not having enough stuff, and my cracked old heart gets a little glow in it, and I know that it shall mend.


Today’s photographs:

Are a little odd. They are mostly from the archive, because that is where I have been, and they are of the Dear Departed, because that is of whom I have been thinking:

A very old picture of me with my girls, taken by the Older Niece:

26 Nov 1

Posh ladies:

26 Nov 2

Gazing Pigeon:

26 Nov 3

Noble Duchess:

26 Nov 9

The sisters together:

26 Nov 22

I came upon this glorious one too, of my old dad:

25 Nov 10-002

And these were the flowers I did for his funeral:

26 Nov 11

I was really proud of those.

And the living. The galvanising, antic, funny, beautiful, restorative Red the Mare:

26 Nov 33

26 Nov 34

Please forgive is this is filled with typographical errors and non-sequiturs and general nonsense. It is another day when I did not sit down to write until after seven, and my brain was good for nothing. But you must must MUST have a Blob.


  1. Lovely blob, thank you.

  2. I agree, great blobby blob. Thank you for thinking of the dear readers and sharing with us your archive.

  3. That you continue to blob while away from home is appreciated. Lovely photos, as always. xx

  4. I, too, thank you for blobbing. And I look forward to that promised photo of you with three shades of pink. But in the meantime, I remain quite satisfied with all your beautiful photos. (I force myself on my blob to post photos that are only from this day and as a result, November and March are brutal: Wisconsin, where I live, remains brown. When I was telling this to someone in England, they were amazed that even our grasses turned brown. And in Scotland -- surely yours are not green year-round?)

  5. I have a blob too but I find visiting your blobby blob with its' stream of consciousness writing far more enjoyable.

    perhaps I'll shutter my windows and spend time in your archives.

    beautiful girls.

    xo Jane

  6. beautiful blobby is wonderful to come here and read of your day and see photos of your beautiful girls. thank you

  7. Lovely blob, and I particularly liked your mention of your 'dear readers' in Africa, of which I am one. And then I was even more pleased to read a mention of my current adopted home - Sierra Leone! Yes, there is impressive growth here now but unfortunately the youngest cousin was quite right too - not many rich people, and a lot of poor ones. But thanks again for the mention, and please do keep an ear open for Sierra Leone on the radio, she deserves some postive international attention.

  8. Ha! Looks like blobbing has caught on. I love it.

    The picture of your father is wonderful - it must have been a real joy to find it. :)

  9. Surely the dog rescue people have only to read your blog to know the old gent will be in very good & loving hands?

  10. Love the "blobby blob" (out of the mouth of babes...).

    In our house, it was "children in China are starving" until the night my sister said, "Well, then, wrap up my spinach and send it to them!".

  11. Your blobbly blob brings such a glow to my heart.. always and without fail. I see no errors, no non-sequiturs just pure blissful balm at the end of my long, weary days.. thank you.


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