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Ann’s Natter

I know my memory isn’t what it used to be but surely there has never been an autumn when there were so many different shades of green and yellows provided by Mother Nature. Perhaps the milder temperatures have had something to do with it. Hasn’t it been breath-taking? On the subject of milder, I ended October with a flourish. On the 31st I had my car cleaned at a local garden centre; did I wait in the café with a coffee – I certainly did not. I sat in the gardens in hot sunshine with a Magnum ice cream! Now that’s a perfect way to wave goodbye to autumn!

As usual, it’s been a busy month. My U3A Creative Writing challenge was to produce the skeleton plots for 6 one hour TV plays with the central character being a famous historical figure. I chose Florence Nightingale – the early years. As usual, this kind of writing requires a good deal of research and detective work. In the ‘olden days’ it would have meant visits to the reference libraries which I always enjoyed. However, it’s now possible to dig out all the facts from the on-line material. I’ve just finished the 3rd draft and I’m going to introduce some dialogue. It might get me some extra Brownie points.

I was very glad when 5th November came and went fairly painlessly. I live in a small and quiet cul-de-sac (bliss!!) and although the village has no pub, there is a working men’s club which had a very well organised bonfire party with food, music etc. and although I didn’t go, it was a great success and another opportunity for a small community to get together and keep in touch. I just put the radios and TV’s on very loud – not for me but for my cat who wasn’t best pleased with the ‘gunfire’ and made himself comfortable in one of his many beds which is under my desk.

On the 12th I went to Warwick Arts Centre, which is actually nearer to Coventry. This is a wonderful centre which encompasses all the arts. We had gone to hear the Czech National Symphony Orchestra play a wonderful classical programme including Grieg who is one of my favourite composers. My thanks go to Sarah, my daughter, who did the chauffeuring and is always a delightful companion. I have missed hearing live classical music and intend to remedy that next year when I’ll joining members of U3A on their visits to Symphony Hall from time to time.

Had a wonderful time at Sarah’s the next day when it was cleaning the new house day, coupled with erecting a huge bookcase, courtesy of Lesley who works with Sarah. It’s odd really because Lesley is head of music at the school and a talented musician in her own right but she always seem to have her huge tool box with her and is a brilliant do-it-yourselfer. We spent most of the day eating, drinking and laughing but in spite of that, much was achieved and I am already booked in for phase two of the cleaning project. Of course, it was Remembrance Sunday and we spent time acknowledging that.

Been having problems with my shower lately but I was just so relieved when a plumber solved the mystery of the poor drainage. It does mean I can now have a shower on my own without being accompanied by a bucket to collect most of the water in order to avoid a flood. He cured the problem in half a day. I had been prepared to manage without temporarily. It took me back to the days during the war when the water supply was often reduced due to bombing. We managed with nothing more than a bowl of water and a flannel! No-one had heard of showers and we had to think really carefully about filling the bath and who was going to be first in the queue for that luxury!!

I’ve had some discussions with the local council concerning the siting of a street light outside my house which I say is an obstruction to my drive. Having had no success, I consulted my local Age UK who have been most supportive in the past. They offered me a 20 minute free consultation with a solicitor. That took place on the 16th and I now know exactly what route to take to try and get this resolved. I thought it might be useful information for anyone else who feels they need some advice; they have so much information at their fingertips.

I’ve managed to meet up with five different lots of friends this month. I know many of us keep in touch through electronic means, but there’s nothing like meeting face to face is there.

Faced a real challenge during the month. For various reasons, I had to miss two consecutive tap dancing lessons. Oh dear – what a disaster that turned out to be. It’s all down again to memory – and speed at that – so much glaring and many disapproving looks from my teacher who always remembers everything. I didn’t get a gold star at the end of the lesson but I had managed to dance one whole four minute routine without missing a step or a beat so well done me, I say.

I also believe I now hold some kind of record. Meeting friends on the 7th, one of our number handed out Christmas cards. That has to be some kind of first surely. She is going to be away in December and wanted to make sure she didn’t miss the opportunity to wish us the compliments of the season when it truly arrives.

Black Friday has come and gone but who can explain why ‘black’ and indeed, what is even more curious is that the ‘Friday’ also became ‘weekend’, ‘tag’, ‘label’ and ‘week’.

I had no problem in choosing an Awareness Day for December. 5th is International Volunteers’ Day, designated by the U.N. I did a bit of research on this and the latest figures show that there are 162,265 registered organisations working in the UK alone, raising £438 billion a year. That doesn’t take into account all those people who are helping out in a personal capacity. I certainly know of one lady supporting a friend with serious health issues, helping with shopping and many other ways. I’ve long believed that volunteers make the wheels go round so thanks to each and every one.

Well – time to end this month with season’s greetings. I hope your December is happy and healthy and Christmas is kind to you in every way.


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