Monday, 12 September 2016


Hastings Diary Day 12 May 2016 TEMPLATE
Sharing our stories and making connections…
Write whatever comes to mind, hour by hour, a reflection or something that stands out. It’s up to you. Photos and drawings welcome.
I have a lie in and the cats aren’t pleased. S comes and nuzzles my right side while A snucks his head into my left hand to be stroked. I dose in and out of sleep while radio 4 continues unlistened, Mervyn Bragg and Titus Oates, Brexit saga, and a woman I have never heard of walking into the sea at St Leonards to die. This wakes me up. The sea hasn’t been rough, the waves not that high and why St Leonards? Almost guiltily I am relieved it wasn’t described as Hastings or this would be another chance for the media to blame Jeremy Corbyn for the existence of a left wing labour council…
I let the cats out as usual, take out the frozen fish for their breakfast as usual, drink my glass of water and get the stewed rhubarb and soya yoghurt as usual but for a change have grape nuts rather than homemade muesli and seeds. I eat my breakfast while the fish cooks and open the laptop as usual. I listen to Chris Packham’s fascinating account of his mental state but turn over to radio 3 as Woman’s Hour is doing diaries again and yesterday’s segment was banal. I start writing this partly because I committed myself to do this but inevitably to avoid doing something else. I need to finish writing a talk for Saturday that I have put off although I know the content and I have also put off finishing some copy editing and also sending an article to HOTI…
The article got sent to HOTI before I went out to a meeting at The Bridge. I have never been inside before. What a lovely place and with allotments and a cafĂ©. I asked whether they had soya milk – I’m a vegan -  since if they didn’t I would have had herbal tea. I was pleasantly surprised when they said yes – something the new trendy bistro did not have on the Hastings pier on the second day of opening. Why aren’t more people using The Bridge?
By the time the meeting was finished and I was walking back it was nearly 3 and the streets were jammed with cars and obese young women – the two are related – waiting to collect children from primary school. Why won’t they walk? The distance won’t be far and it would be much more healthy and better for them in the long run since we no longer have anything that might be called a National Health Service, at least in Hastings. 
Back to let the cats in.  I don’t normally leave them out if I am out but the day was sunny and I wasn’t gone long. Two rush in and I give them some biscuits but T is wandering somewhere. I slice an aubergine, sprinkle with salt  and leave in a colander for the bitter juice to come out so I can later make an aubergine and lentil bake for my dinner. I make a salad with lettuce,cucumber, radish, beetroot, tomatoes and humus and a couple of oatcakes. I have gone back into oatcakes in a big way since my BMI is slightly above normal – although I do lots of exercise – and I want to lose a couple of kilos before I resort to the 800 calories diet I read about in the Guardian. I do not want to get diabetes - such a debilitating disease. The glycaemic loading for oatcakes is good and certainly much better than bread.
I sit outside the back door as it is warm enough, typing and watching one cat fascinated by the route of a fly which no doubt he will eventually kill and eat. The solomon’s  seal has just started to come up again after the winter. I love these plants even though the white droplet flowers only last a couple of May weeks . They always look as if they have gone for good but inevitably emerge – these particular plants have travelled with me from my last 2 addresses and have survived, like their owner.
T appears miaowing for food – has biscuits but then the others want some more and I give in to prevent S bullying T out of his rations. Catch up on emails. YouGov survey which of course I do. Why in heavens name do they always ask me about costa coffee from a machine in a petrol station? I am never going to drink that muck. But, I surmise, if I don’t answer this sort of rubbish then they won’t sending me the interesting political stuff.  Having had a cup of after-lunch -tea and not being able to find any more avoidance strategies it’s back to finishing the talk. 
Yeah but not before doing some weeding and watching the cats decide what is the best place to sit. A for some reason chooses to sit on the pebbles while T and S go for the bench in the pergola: oddly all seem to have followed me up there even though they never get fed in the garden!
Finally I get round to drafting the talk for Saturday but only have 1,500 words (rather than around 3,500 for 20 minutes) and it isn’t very good. I give up and go out to my regular power hoop class. Because the weather is good we are meeting in Alexandra Park (as we did last week.) This week the yoga group is absent but the circuit trainers in group identifying blue T shirts are there and a couple of young men working on a “slack rope” fixed between two trees. I notice that they have put jumpers underneath the straps on the tree to prevent damage and watch while they jump on and balance to launch themselves off again. A bit more advanced than power hoop. There are lots of people of various ages and dogs around . A couple of young women have a picnic with their children. A girl of about 8 plays football on her own. A couple of men play guitars. Various dogs jump around. Noone – absolutely no one at all  - yells out sexist abuse or gesticulates aggressively. No “status” dogs are directed towards us. After we finish I go and speak to the young men on the slack rope about what they are doing – one says he only got it today and they offer to give me a go. I decline but am touched by their gesture. All of this is so different to my experience in my local former London park where I stopped going as routinely it involved ringing the police or the RSPCA about anti social behaviour. Presumably that does happen in the Park but to date I have never seen it and it always seems a very safe space and I do walk here on my own. (And go to the always clean and well maintained toilets and to the caff with vegan options.)
On the way home I pop into Morrisons – not my favourite but it is near the park –to buy a bottle of wine and chance upon some little fuschias which I buy including one improbably named after Winston Churchill! 
When home I decide to cook first of all – or all the wine will get drunk and no dinner. The aubergine is now rinsed and shoved into soya flour which I should apparently have used 2 months ago. If I die in the night it is no doubt because of the out of date soya… I then cook those and separately a sauce with onions, garlic, mushrooms, red lentils, tinned tomatoes,herbs and spices and bits of lemon and a glass or two of white wine. I let the cats out as it is still light and warm. I turn on radio 3 and it is my favourite Beethoven symphony, no 7 , with the sad second movement. Must check if it is in my funeral suggestions around favourite music – it always cheers me up in an odd sort of way.
I ring R but it goes to answerphone. He rang earlier and I missed it. I hope he is OK as a full time carer abandoned by his selfish siblings, social services and the vestiges of the NHS. His mother should have died by now the state seems to be saying and they cannot be bothered wasting more resources on an elderly woman – though they seem to be able to do that for the queen and her racist husband.
I am now writing this while the aubergine and lentil bake bakes away in the oven and before I get back to re-writing my talk which I totally revised in the park in my head while doing Powerhoop. 
Cats have been enticed back in with Sainsbury’s dental bites (cheaper than whiskas same product) and I lock the back door for the night. T goes into the carrier for his treats – I have been trying to train them to associate the carrier (and thence visits to the vet) as positive experiences. While the aubergine bake continues to bake R rings and we talk about his mum and her failing health and the article Joan Smith wrote in the Guardian about the awful (and very typical) treatment of her mother by the NHS. The petition against the appalling bias of Kuenssberg has been withdrawn by 38 degrees as apparently some people were being sexist. Not that the BBC would have taken any notice. 
Finally at around 11 I get to eat my dinner and have another glass of wine. By now there is a version of a Janis Joplin track on radio 3 which is good.
Shortly I will be going to bed – where I suspect the cats are already asleep and I will read my book, write down the exercise I have done today and the number of glasses of water I have drunk and then write my OWN diary. I do this every day and it will be very very different to this one off version…

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