Monday, May 24, 2021

Victoria Day breezes

More nice words: from Lina, I just finished reading your book. I think it’s the best you’ve ever written. 

From Nicky, an actress: I've enjoyed the book very very much. It was unsettling and engrossing for how similar our paths have been.  

Many thanks to you both, faithful readers!

And two longterm students, Brad and Sam, had pieces published. Sam wrote, I wouldn’t write if it weren’t for your encouragement and feedback, Beth, as well as the inspiration you share in class.

Glad to celebrate your successes, friends, but I'm happy not to be teaching today. It's Victoria Day - people have the day off to celebrate one of Britain's queens, many fireworks popping until late last night. What a strange country we are. Another lovely day - the oppressive heat has gone and it's fresh and sunny, lilacs wafting in. The birds are noisy and everything's growing like mad. 

Especially my grandson Eli, who just turned nine but wears a size twelve. He's a shrewd planner who holds his cards close to his chest figuratively and literally - one of his birthday events was an evening poker party with his godmother Holly and his Uncle Sam. He won. I'm 70 and have never played poker. Eli has to laboriously teach me card games, even Go Fish, when he visits. 

On Saturday was his other party in the backyard with many of his friends. Anna, as you know from this blog, looks after a lot of children, including some who regularly arrive to spend the night due to parents' work schedules or crises. There is always room for one more. Eli and Ben are growing up in a very big extended family, almost none of whom are blood relatives.

Along with all the parents, Eli's friend and tutor Greg came from next door with his partner John and a cold bottle of rosé. The many children jumped on the trampoline and chased each other with the bows and arrows I'd brought - with a well-padded tip, you'll be relieved to know. There was of course - because Anna - a ton of food and TWO spectacular cakes made by Finn's mother Kat, cake-maker extraordinaire. 

When I left, exhausted, Uncle Sam was in the laneway behind the yard throwing a football to 6 thrilled, grubby little boys who'd scramble to catch and throw it back. He'd been doing this steadily for 20 minutes. And I thought, what many little boys need most is a kind, patient, funny person to throw a ball to them and then throw it back. Endlessly. Sam himself as a boy missed out on that, since his father was in another country and his mother was not, definitely not, that person. Now, reading stories - yes. 

Nothing much planned today beyond some work in the garden - lots to clean up since my helper, Bill, died last year and so it's all up to me. I just counted - it's 66 steps from my kitchen to the end of my yard. That's a lot of clean up. 

Have to say that as a half-Jew who has little to do with her Jewish heritage, still, the events of the past weeks made me sick. Devastating that a country created because of a murderous holocaust should be so utterly without conscience or humanity. As my friend Ruth points out, like in the US, the fanatical religious right has gained far too much power. How did our planet regress so? What kind of world will our beloved young ones grow into?

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