Monday, 19 September 2011

DAY ONE: Minus four.

I have been feeling odd; bit of a cough as expected after 64 years of the weed, light-headed yet achy behind the eyes nose and cheek-bones...classic allergy symptoms I've been telling myself when my thought process turns to the most obvious and, some would say, most deserved diagnosis.

But it is the sharp pain under my ribs [ diagnosed by me as intercostal cartilage strain or inflammation of:-] which  is the one symptom, the final symptom which leads me to the decision that I Must Quit.

 To that end I dug in the rubbish drawer for the Niquitin lozenges from my last attempt, only remembering the foulness of them on sucking the first one. I sauntered next door but two to the Chemist - our usual glorious Pharmacist - she of the ebony skin, silken dreadlocks and the whitest truest smile was on holiday and her Locum, a tall elderly taciturn man with a full head of white hair and moustache to rival that of  Dick van Dyke's Dr. Sloan, suggested, when I asked if there had been a breakthrough and had someone thought to flavour the wretched things so that they were palatable, wandered around the aisles and suggested that 'perhaps if I bought some strong mints and sucked along with a lozenge...'

That was Day one: minus one. I lasted until 1pm. I tried keeping busy, but one has to sit down sometime and Milou didn't feel like giving up his afternoon cuddle on the sofa with mum, Doctors, Flog it and Countdown.
My count was six that day...which I felt was a credible effort.
Day One:  minus  two and three followed pretty much the same pattern except that I think I must be holding my breath or somehow controlling the strength of the breaths I do take because though I slept well enough the intercostal pain was worse this morning.

Took another stroll to the Chemist...tablets are mint flavoured but at  £15. Hell's Bells. Forget it. I will quit, but slowly using will power. [famous last words?]

Just Googled Intercostal Cartilage and I think I have been 'Bracing'. Yup!

Life in the old girl yet.

Will no doubt be flagging Day one when it arrives.

I looked for a suitable illustration on Google Images but they are all too preachy, too worthy , patronising or just bonkers; as if we are not aware of the dangers involved in sucking up the tarry smoke.  Then I thought of the very old song by Phil Harris:

 Smoke smoke smoke that cigarette 
                        Puff, puff puff and if you smoke yourself to death
                              Tell St. Peter at the Golden Gate, that you hate to make him wait
              But you just gotta have another cigarette.

This song came out in  1939/40 and it was one of the songs in Mother's meagre collection [the B side was something about a card game: I remember: Now sitting right there in that there clan, there chanced to be a one-eyed man and he kep' starin' at me out the corner of his' ol' one eye would deal and then, it cost Bill another five or ten....]

So even then they knew. 1]that nicotine is addictive and 2] It was/is harmful.

Friday, 31 December 2010


I am having trouble finding enough of interest to keep two Blogs going at the same time, so I have decided to make The View from this End my principle Blog. It feels so much more like home. Daft, I know, after all, they are both floating around in space but, there it is.

I don't have the courage to close this Blog, having lost 'The view'  once, accidently and not liking it one little bit, I shall hang on poems, perhaps, and trivial stuff suitably described as piffle. So please, do come back to me at my old place and help me to re-furnish it.

Saturday, 18 December 2010



Saturday, 11 December 2010

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


Blue moon, you saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart, without a love of my own
Blue moon, you knew just what I was there for
You heard me saying a prayer for someone I really could care for
And then suddenly appeared before me, the only one my arms could ever hold
I heard somebody whisper 'please adore me'
But when I looked, that moon had turned to gold - oh oh oh
Blue moon, now I'm no longer alone
Without a dream in my heart, without a love of my own Without a love of my own
(Blue moon)
[Rogers and Hart]

When I was young
And in my prime
I sang and danced
and played with rhyme and gave no thought

I thought about the the boys I'd kissed
who'd kissed me back,
Of softly padded fingertips
and how they felt.
I thought in white
I thought in black,
and gave no thought

I dreamed a future-technicolour bright
where softly padded fingertips
would put my world to rights
Where every kiss would stop my breath,
Where those I loved would sneer at death

Now old, the padded finger tips are calloused
and time waits to stop my breath.
But still, a tune, a song can brings back to me
full versed - the magic pulse which once
brought every nerve to life, and...
I remember when, so long ago
I thought I knew in white
I thought I knew in black
but gave no thought
to all the shades between
as I cling

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

JP and Picasso. A sorry tale.

The revelation of the treasures hidden in the attic, garage and shed of Monsieur Pierre Le Guennec -consisting  of 271 pieces of art by Picasso, and valued conservatively at £55 million, has dredged up an old story from the archives of our family history. And, once again we are hearing some derisive phone calls that begin with:'Thank's a lot, Dad'.

As a young boy aged thirteen or fourteen he helped his mother and her partner in their Epicerie in Cannes, stocking shelves, carrying boxes and delivering groceries on his bicycle. Chez Picasso was one of his regular stops. He would ring the bell at the gate and would be let in by the housekeeper, carry the goods to the kitchen door and receive a pourboire, usually enough for a small bet at the Bouleodrome, where he often played, and won against grown men.

This particular day he rang the bell, and waited, then rang again. Finally Picasso himself came to open the gate and beckoned JP inside and over to the kitchen where he deposited the groceries onto the table. Then the great man patted his pockets and turned them inside out to show he had no small change on him. Disgruntled, JP turned to go but Picasso said 'No, wait, just a moment'. He emptied one of the white paper bags onto the table and, taking a pencil from behind his ear, and with a few bold strokes drew his famous Dove of Peace on it, dated and signed it and presented it, with a smile to the boy.

Outside the gate JP looked at the paper in his hand, crunched it up and threw it into the ravine and muttering words that only be translated into 'what a mean, miserable old......' rode back to the shop in high dudgeon.


Thursday, 25 November 2010


I needed something from the store and was crossing  the living room towards the front door, when I chanced to look out of the window just in time to see JP emerge from the side door into the garden. He was looking down, and frowning and then he half-ran half danced down the path toward the gate waving his outstretched arms up and down as if on a very slow take off run. I peered through the glass, ducking back quickly as he turned and walked slowly back up the path.

Now I should mention here that lately he has been very grumpy in the morning; irascible actually...well truth to tell, a lot of the time his tolerance of the human voice, particularly mine, is limited, so I try to keep conversation to a minimum for as long as possible.  He came into the room.

Me [big smile] What was all that about?

JP. All what?

Me. That dance up the path.

JP. No idea what you are talking about.

Me. Come on. What on earth were you doing, you don't usually dance down to the wheelie bins. [laughing]

JP. Where are you going?

Me. Don't change the subject.

JP. Tell me where you are going and I'll tell you what I was doing.

Me. You first. [you can tell that we have pretty dull lives if we can make a drama out of nothing.]

JP.  [looking sheepish]

Me. [suddenly putting two and two together; the half run, the downcast eyes and flapping arms] Oh my God...[now laughing hysterically] It was the wretched Starlings again...wasn't it?

JP.Weeeelllll! The greedy %$&^***!'s. zose pointy beaks, I 'ate zem.

Me.It was worth it just to see you flapping your arms for take off.

JP. So, where are you going.

Me. To the store, but I've forgotten why.

JP. Silly beech!