Natie at Prom with her boyfriend Harry ~ see Photo Album 4

The jug of flowers that came to me from Barbara's house as she has been taken to her daughter Tina in York while her broken ankle mends ~ thank you !

Quite Incredble !

Right ~ yesterday two very odd things happened ~ when the Sainsbury's delivery man brought my order, he said, "When the other guys heard where I was bringing this lot, they all said,that's the woman who was on the telly !"   I was on for a full two minutes, I pointed out, which hardly makes me a celebrity !   But he seemed to be awe-struck !!    Very odd !    Later on, as I was hanging the washing out, a couple came up the yard  and they too recognised me from the Secret Britain program which they said had inspired them to come down from Newcastle for a few days specifically to explore the yards ~ "By the sound of it, you were a teacher," he said !   Oh NO ~ I cannot bear to be identified as a teacher, especially considering what a dismal teacher I had been !   It turned out they were retired teachers themselves ~ he taught French, I think he said in a comprehensive school, and she taught Juniors ~ nice people but I do wish they had not identified me as a teacher.

Sunday morning: Will sent pictures of their daughter Natie dressed up for the school prom and what a beauty she has become, at sixteen looking elegant and frankly gorgeous ~ I have asked Natie if I can put her Prom pictures on the blog ~ I do hope she will agree ~ I already have her brother Ben and his lovely girlfriend Francesca (I'll look up blog ref) both of them at Birmingham Uni ~ fingers crossed.   Tuesday afternoon(and sweltering hot !)   Natie says I can use one of her prom photos so I'll install it now ~ she looks incredibly gorgeous and sophisticated and only 16 !!

I read somewhere that blogging is no more than a huge ego enhancing exercise which made me feel both depressed and slightly ashamed ~ somebody (and I think it was Laurie Lee) said "I write to celebrate my life and to preserve it"  or words to that effect.  And Maggie Gee said "Life bombards us with disasters and delights.  I suppose writing is a way of saying THIS IS WHAT BEING ALIVE MEANS TO ME."  (quoted in the Guardian 1988).   And quoting from V S Pritchett's biography of Checkov (Checkov : A Spirit Set Free) Julian Barnes wrote : "Chekov's art lasts not just because it is beautifully and sturdily made, BUT BECAUSE IT IS TRUE."   For years I jotted useful quotes down but though I still have the Foolscap Hardback notebook, I can't think when I last referred to it ~ maybe I should start doing so again ~ we read some fascinating or poignant remark, and promptly forget it.   Well, I don't know about YOU, but I do anyway !

In a modest way, perhaps this is what I am trying to do here ~ celebrate the life of an ordinary woman in Britain over the last 80-odd years, and so preserve it ~ one minute story among  millions ~ all equally unique and yet equally insignificant.   I must quote Mary Webb again here, and then I'll shut up about it, except to say this : You can always slope off and watch Wimbledon !"!   Finally, this from Mary Webb's masterpiece, "Precious Bane" 1914 ~ my copy is a 1927 edition, and cost me 75p ~ "Joy Proctor, Leighton Hall" I've written in it so I must have bought it while I was at college ~ Beckett Park Teacher Training College, Leeds ~ God help me !!!   It's one of the books I read time and again, especially if I'm sad or depressed or worried ~ 'Jane Eyre' is another, any of Jane Austen, and believe it or not the Green Knowe stories of Lucy M Boston, children's books, it's true, but quite magical.  And when necessary, comforting.

"As soon as I could write, I made a little book with a calico cover, and every Sunday I wrote in it any merry time or good fortune we had had in the week, and so kept them.   And if times had been troublous and bitter for me, I wrote that down too, and was eased."  I'd always quote this when I was giving talks to WIs and Ladies After Dinner Clubs, or at Swanwick ~ and no matter how determined I was NOT TO it invariably reduced me to tears  ~ and if you haven't read

Part of The Antiques Road Show came from Bristol, which is where I grew up, and which prompted me to find this picture of it on an old birthday card ~ photograph by Philip Pierce for Provincial Pictures.   What an amazing feat / fete/ feet *  of engineering, and that in the 1850s !  * (I must look spelling up, but not tonight.)

Barbara is with her daughter Tina in York until she can put her weight on her plastered ankle which she broke tripping over in Baxter Gate last Monday ~ Ellen went in to check all was well, everything turned off, and brought me the bunch of flowers Veronica had given her which now grace my kitchen table.  Thank you, Barbara.   Thamk you Veronica.  And oh heavens ~ look at the time !!

Tuesday afternoon~ this has somehow turned into Natie's life in pictures ~ I should have put them together in a picture album ~ maybe I'll do that later IF IT COOLS DOWN !!    They warned us of a heatwave and a heatwave we've got !  


Clifton Suspension Bridge ~ recently we heard of an old lady in her nineties who took a step ladder up on to the bridge in order to clamber over the railing and throw herself to her death !