Bits and Bobs

Afternoon all. Welcome to this week’s latest missive from someone hiding in the bedroom from Line Of Duty. Too much shouting and pointing of guns for this gentle soul. I understand that I am almost completely alone in this and I am living with it. With no difficulty at all.

Thank you to everyone who sent me details of blogs and Instagrams and all that jazz. It’s very much appreciated and I’m really liking reading them. Reading actual books has been a bit hit and miss. I finally decided that I’m never going to make any progress in my mission to like Josephine Tey. The signs should have been good. Murder mysteries set in the 20s and 30s. A handsome and brilliant Inspector Grant looking into the cases. People saying things like “Terribly, terribly” and having kippers for breakfast. I’m usually all over that stuff like a rash but… Well, first of all, I’m not that fussed about Inspector Grant and the author is obviously completely in love with him (as she should be). Also, without sounding like some woke teenager, I am a bit uncomfortable with the racial stereotypes and it’s a long time since I heard a Mediterranean person described using “that” word. I know, different times and all that but I struggled and I apologise. Also, for what it’s worth, her classic Daughter of Time book – where Inspector Grant is laid up in bed and examines the mystery of the Princes in the Tower. . I’m sorry. I still think Richard The Third did it – murder the Princes in the Tower that is. So, into the Ziffit box with you and it wouldn’t do for us all to like the same thing as my old mother has never said because she thinks everyone should agree with her.

So I moved on to the Barbara Pym biography which I have been very excited about for some time – excited enough to pay full price for the hardback which is a very rare occurrence for me. I’ve included a photo above, partly because you might want to see the cover if you want to buy it but also so you will be impressed with me because I have bought such a weighty tome. Those who know me at all will know that I had no idea how thick that book was when I ordered it. It did cross my mind when it arrived that, if nothing else, it would be helpful to prop my laptop up for Zoom meetings but it’s actually very good so far and the chapters are very, very short. Lots of ’em but short. Miss Pym fell in love with a Nazi at the beginning of the war apparently. Can you name me a posh English woman that didn’t fall in love with a Nazi in the war? I mean, I like a sharp cheekbone as much as the next woman but good grief. Anyway, she came to her senses – apparently after some unpleasantness around concentration camps or the like and joined the war effort. (On the allies side, lest there be any doubt)

I’m quite pleased that I am managing to read anything at all, to be frank. I came across this article on Long Covid in the Sunday Times this week and then spent ten minutes with Head of House playing Covid Bingo. I have a lot of Long Covid symptoms. I don’t know if you know but I had Covid in November. I don’t know how you would know – I never mention it. (Head of House coughs uncontrollably). It’s not the terrible stuff that leaves you bedridden but there’s brain fog, memory loss, knackered (or exhaustion if you are trying to keep the tone reasonably high), my eyes are struggling a bit. Head of House came up with a few symptoms but I beat him hands down. I always do when it comes to moaning about my ailments. I have no idea where I get that from.

Anyway…Aged Parent gets her vaccination Mark 2 on Saturday. We are expecting some issues because, when she had the first vaccine, no one had told her about any possible side effects and by the time she heard about them and decided she was going to get them, it was too late and medical people were telling her that, whatever was ailing her, it couldn’t be the vaccine because it was too long ago. She’s ready for it this time and we are expecting full-on side effects before we get her back in the car. Never mind eh?

Other than that, this has been a low-level week here at Martha Towers. Both Fruits of Womb have returned to their lives after lockdown although we did get to spend FOW2’s birthday in a pub garden in Exeter with her. It was a very lovely afternoon, in the end. We weren’t too sure at first because, despite full-on sunshine, the South Coast of England is doing a passable audition for one of those disaster movies where everyone has to strap themselves to something because some kind of hurricane has changed course at the last moment and is wreaking havoc. Anyway, we found a very civilised, sheltered spot and the worst the weather did was burn my forehead leaving me with an alluring stripe. Is it because we don’t get out much that one afternoon in a pub courtyard can leave you feeling like you have spent a week with no sleep?

So that’s it. I thought maybe I should leave you with a scripture for the weary or something, I found this in Psalm 49

“We aren’t imortal. We don’t last long. Like our dogs, we age and weaken. And die.”

Probably not quite what you were expecting, especially if you are feeling a bit tired but don’t blame me. I’m just the messenger, tough love and all that.

Have a good week.



  1. April 26, 2021 / 9:35 am

    Long covid – do you have tinnitus? I had it mildly before. It’s infinitely worse now (other people say that too) My anosmia continues, sadly I cannot find my “sniffing set” – it’s packed in a bix somewhere, and so nose-retraining exercises are temporarily halted. Brain fog prevents me remembering what else is still awry. Josephine Tey – I loved her when I was 15. Now they gave all gone, apart from Brat Farrar and The Franchise Affair. I’m not sure they will stay, every inch of shelf space has to be earned in this smaller dwelling. Barbara Pym – I read a review of the bio somewhere. She was a bit of an odd fish, wasn’t she? Somebody asked her about her love life and her response was something like “I love Bob, and I love Dick and I love cornflakes. I think I will choose the cornflakes” The Nazi connection – so prevalent among upper class 1930s society – the Mitford gels and Mrs Simpson et al. How does one decide where to draw the line (should men avoid Hugo Boss aftershave because HB made Hitler uniforms? Ditto volkswagen cars…) its jolly hard being consistently “woke”. The continuity announcer on Radio 4 Extra keeps saying “we apologise for some of the words used in this drama, which reflect the attitudes of the time” and there’s this hidden subtext “but we’re broadcasting it anyway because it’s a rattling good yarn, to keep you entertained as you tackle the ironing” Feeling my age this morning. Taking comfort from Isaiah 40;31

    • lesleyps91
      April 26, 2021 / 10:21 pm

      Yes, Miss Pym is a little strange. She seems like a child when she describes her life at Oxford. Do you think it is a possibility that, after working so hard for so long, your body is having to adjust to slowing down which is leaving you feeling a bit discombobulated. That -on top of Long Covid maybe.

  2. April 26, 2021 / 5:29 pm

    Finally coming out of the long strange parallel universe this last year has been and getting round to catching up with the blogs of friends. I haven’t re-emerged to the level of making intelligent responses, but just waving to you and saying “I woz ere” and thank you for your writing. x

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