Monday, November 22, 2010

Doing that downhill thing again....wooooosh!.....thump!!

Yes, it's that time of year when all of us who are not blessed with perfect winter weather (yes, I remember the sepia tinted halcyon days in Oman) turn our thoughts to winter pursuits other than heading to the beach for a top-up sun tan. For me and my partner, this means hurtling down a ski slope faster than I care to go and hoping that either I remember how to stop or there's some nice soft snow at the bottom.

Skiing is great. I'll say that again....skiing is GREAT!! For all of you out there who haven't tried so soon! For all of you out there who haven't seen snow yet, I suggest you start with a gentle game of snowballs, make a snow angel or build a snowman and progress from there. Snow is slippery, tricky stuff to get to know.

We're going to Italy this year. Last year was the big trip to Whistler, Canada, just before the Winter Olympics. I'm not sure Italy will live up to that because I was virtually in paradise last year! Forget your 70 virgins and rivers running with wine - I had so many pistes to choose from I don't think I unintentionally skied down any one piste more than once. The village was sublime and the food was excellent - especially Araxi restaurant. Fine dining indeed!!

We're off skiing in January, so wish me luck! Don't say "break a leg" - I may just do that!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The 'X' Factor et. al.

Do any of you out there know about the 'X' Factor? How about Britain's/America's Got Talent? I was blissfully ignorant of them when I lived abroad, but now I'm back living in the UK, they're all pervasive on TV. You just can't avoid them, short of switching off the box for good. No time of year is 'reality TV' free. Football has its season, as does rugby, tennis, golf, cricket etc. Even the Proms don't go on forever. But reality TV is a never-ending irritation. It's all fixed, even though it professes to involve the audience through paid voting etc. The papers are full of it and, alas, a few greedy, self-centered, egotistical people are the ones to profit.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Sands of Time

This last weekend was quite a sad time for me.

My Mum, who's nearing 90 and in failing health, has gone into a Care Home (Old Folks Home for those of you who are old enough to remember when we called a spade a spade). It was a hard decision for my siblings and myself to make, but we had to do it in my Mum's best interests as she wasn't coping at home and none of us could devote nearly enough time to become an 'unofficial' carer.

So off she went a couple of month ago. Thankfully, she loves it and, suffering from Alzheimers, doesn't even remember or talk about home any more. She lives her life in the present.

That left a problem - the house. Being an unoccupied property, it has gone from being an asset to a liability as getting home and contents insurance has become a nightmare. So we have decided to sell it.

That brings me back to last weekend when I had to rent a van and collect all the stuff I still have at home - all the stuff I accumulated over a childhood and adolescence growing up there - all the stuff I once thought I didn't need in my life but now cling on to so tightly. It was a poignant, funny, sad and happy weekend all at the same time. I lived in that house from 3 years old so knew no other whilst growing up.

When we finally come to sell it, I will shed a tear. I know I will.

Life is brutal sometimes. Things go from being seemingly immovable and timeless to being oh so transient. The sands which we build our lives upon shift and we find ourselves having to face realities we really don't want to face. People who we come to see as rocks in our life, strong and secure, decline and fade.

The focus is now on my Mum. She deserves my attention right now. I'm only too eager to give her this.

Balmy times

I'm sitting here in the good old UK (SE England to be exact) on 4th November when it should be cold and bleak - and it's 21 degC outside and as sunny as you like! Not sure whether this is global warming or any such thing but it is welcome. I like my weather distinct - warm and sunny or cold and snowy. I'm not one for the wishy washy middling stuff we usually get over here. Actually, I could do with an Omani winter right now - that would be VERY nice.