Hi and hello everyone

This is a late review (by a couple of days) as time and events have got in the way again! Mainly grandparent duties coming on my writing days. The week we’ve been over to see our grandchild Oscar two days running, once with a roast dinner cooked by me and put in the back of the car to take to my son’s house (have you done that?) because he was on his own for 3 days whilst his partner was off on a hen-night + 2. And then a phone-call the next day, Oscar’s got chicken pox (oh dear) so could we baby-sit for a couple of days whilst they’re at work?  Actually we couldn’t do much, just a half day. I expect retirement is something that younger people imagine as boundless hours of freedom, when in fact we’re the kind of couple who are always busy with our projects, me with my writing and Mr F with his family history and now some local history in Lewes. Moreover, Pilates classes dominate our week, plus the compulsory walk that we take nearly every day to push up our steps.

Then with me, I have my maintenance appointments (!) hair, nails, face. It’s a busy life and we don’t even volunteer for anything – as yet. So there isn’t much spare time. Btw, re: chicken-pox and older people, we’ve both had chicken-pox and the shingles vaccine, so we should be OK. Anyway I believe the most infectious phase is before the spots come out, and they’d appeared some days before we saw him. Just a rash we all thought, but no.

So how has the month treated you?  At the beginning of the month we were still in a kind of limbo staying with our daughter and family. They’d given up their bedroom for weeks – so we are eternally grateful to them. Anyway finally we moved back to our finished flat at the end of the first week of May and have been getting it ready for visitors ever since. And now slowly I am picking up on the socialising and getting our friends round for coffees, teas and meals – which is lovely!

As for the state of the nation? And the world? Well, actually I won’t comment on it as I am two thirds the way through a piece of writing for My Other Blog – but don’t look for it now as it’ll be posted a few days hence. Over the past few months I’ve started a couple of pieces for My Other Blog but my writing stalled every time as I’ve felt overwhelmed at the state of the world let alone this rather small, and somewhat dysfunctional, first world country. But this issue – I had to write about.

Anyway enough of that, and that is why, people, to keep my sanity I surround myself with blogs written by lovely women, I read about fashion, also cultural events, visit art exhibitions and museums (just at the start of that part of my cultural life) and look out things to watch and read.

How are you all now with the pandemic? Because while cases are down, there’s still a lot of it about. Yes, there are fewer cases in Lewes but they’re still quite high(ish) and as for Brighton, cases are actually going up! We still wear masks in supermarkets, food shops, any shops really, plus I wear a mask in our local cinema and always on  public transport, but now, it’s quite rare to see people wearing masks. Hmm. Well, I shall continue wearing a mask for quite some time. Do let me know what you are doing.

We are also participating in Lewes events, one of which was the re-enactment of the Battle of Lewes. I won’t give you a long history lesson but it is all here for you to read, suffice to say it was a battle that took place in Lewes in 1264, that’s some centuries ago (!) which the present-day Lewesians love to re-enact.


Naturally, it was raining!  As you can see from this short video neither the players or the public following the re-enactment are particularly bothered by the rain. The link, btw, takes you to my much neglected Youtube channel – hope you can get it up and running.

Things we have watched and are watching

We watched 7 films this month – two at the cinema. The first was Wild Men, which was a delightful tale set in Sweden of a man going through a mid-life crisis and attempting to seek out some kind of catharsis through living in the wild.  It naturally goes very wrong and is laugh-out-loud funny at times with some great acting from the cast including Sophie Grabol who was the lead protagonist in the original television series The Killing. Four * for this film.

Last Saturday we returned to that lovely little film society in Newhaven (we set it up several years ago!) to see Petite Maman. Oh my word what a delightful film and so very French starring two lovely young girls as… well the thing is I don’t actually want to give the plot away!  But it’s just such a beautiful film about love and loss and grief and two sweet young girls. So very natural and as I said so very, very French. Do seek it out if you missed it in the cinema. It’s a 4 and a half* film I think.

Three films were really quite rubbish. You know my taste in films, I like to watch a very broad spectrum! But two watched at home were very good. The first was Nightmare Alley a sophisticated noir with a very particular look to it mainly because the director was Guillermo Del Toro, who also directed Pans Labyrinth. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Kate Blanchette and Toni Collette it was the tale of a grifter and con-man working his way up to be a psychic medium and his inevitable downfall. Sounds ghastly? No not at all, the look of it was stunning and I was enthralled by the entire film. This gets four* from me.

The second excellent film viewed at home was The Eyes of Tammy Faye starring Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye for which she quite rightly won this year’s Oscar. Oh my word, to a Brit that film was mind boggling, truly mind boggling! Religion  as entertainment – what?! Amazing, and an interesting story as well. I highly recommend. Another 4* from me for this film.

We have finished watching four series, (Beck BBC iPlayer), an excellent Swedish detective series with a great cast and good stories with well rounded characters – I find it very enjoyable.  We’ve also reached the half-way mark with Better Call Saul (Netflix) in my eyes one of the best television series ever, and what a shock ending to the episode that was. The second half of this last ever series will start in July – can’t wait! I also finished Life After Life (BBC iPlayer) taken from the book by Kate Atkinson of the same title. It’s the story of Ursula who has an infinite number of lives, yes we see her die over and over again, but it is exquisitely told and feels both sweet and sad at the same time – loved it. And then the fourth series of The Marvellous Mrs Maisel (Netflix) has come to an end. I shall miss the technicolour cinematography and the early 60s vibe but I rather wonder if another series will solve the problem of where exactly is this going? So I love this series but think it needs to end – somehow.

Still watching GentlemanJack (BBC iPlayer). Oh Suranne Jones, what an actor she is. Love the strength and feistiness of this series, just love it. Do you know about Gentleman Jack? This is the story of Anne Lister and Ann Walker and their love story set in the early 19th Century in Yorkshire. They are the first married lesbian couple we know of, this knowledge coming courtesy of the collected diaries of Anne Lister amounting to nearly 4 millions words.  The diaries were written in code and only recently transcribed.  From our present day it is astonishing to see  Ann Lister’s courage and strength in dealing with men as an equal, which she was, but in those days, she could be landowner from the landed gentry but she could not vote and nor, of course, could she marry Ann, but she did, in private church sacrament. Just the best kind of television you could find.


I read a couple of books that were really not up to scratch. One was Nancy Mitford’s first novel, Wigs on the Green, and if you see it don’t bother to pick it up as I thought it ghastly and shallow and nothing like her later books, especially The Pursuit of Love, which is a great read.

However, one book this month has been outstanding and I put it in the highest ranking of all books I’ve read. This is Suite Francaise, by Irene Nemirovsky, which I see the reading of as an experience as well as a brilliant read. Nemirovsky was born in Kiev and left with her parents for France in 1917 during the Russian Revolution.  The book consists of two novellas, the first of which is set around the defeat of France in 1940 and the flight from Paris. The second is the occupation of a small village by German troops. Both the prose and the story lines are perfect and I see her as up there with Tolstoy and  War and Peace. And indeed Nemirovsky saw this as a 1000 page novel made up of five sections depicting France in the time of German occupation. She only completed the two because despite living half her life in France she was arrested by the French police as a stateless Jew and ultimately sent to her death in Auschwitz. Her two children survived and amazingly so did her manuscript, but not until 60 years later was it realised that the manuscript wasn’t a diary but the beginnings of a great novel. It was published in 2004 with huge acclaim and it is a masterpiece. Do read it.

That’s all for now, and while I don’t totally approve of the British royal family (apologies to those who do admire the royal family but I have to be honest, I don’t) nevertheless huge kudos to the Queen, and let’s hope the rain holds off for all those street parties held across the UK to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee. Enjoy the Bank Holidays and the weekend wherever you are.

With love, the Frugalfashionshopper





End of the month review – May 2022
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27 thoughts on “End of the month review – May 2022

  • 2nd June 2022 at 9:55 am

    I must agree with your final paragraph Penny . Rather than suffocating in Jubilee mania we shall be working in the garden with the test match on the radio . I thought it was just Hubbie & I who are immune 😁

    • 2nd June 2022 at 12:07 pm

      Oh Wendy, it’s great to meet like minds. I really think it’s too much, especially with the state of the nation and the poverty caused by the rise in prices of energy and food. And then spend millions on this? No! We shall not be participating but I will just touch base with the street party where I live as it is a communal/community event. If they start toasting the Queen, not sure what I shall do!

      Enjoy the cricket!

  • 2nd June 2022 at 10:07 am


  • 2nd June 2022 at 10:08 am

    I am in total agreement with you about the royals. At a time when the need for food banks is increasing and people are struggling the money wasted on all the events is scandalous. I also think it’s time for her to abdicate. She didn’t attend the opening of parliament but could go to a horse event next day. Anyone else doing that would lose their job. I know many people think they are wonderful but we will not be a true democracy whilst this dysfunctional family interferes with our laws and we remain subjects not true citizens. As you can imagine I’m avoiding all jubilee events and will be watching the cricket. Go England

    • 2nd June 2022 at 12:12 pm

      I restrained myself as I could have said a lot more in that last sentence or two. The Queen is at the end of her reign and things are very, very different to 1952 and 1953 (when she was crowned) – the adulation then was enormous, but now, not so much and that is right as the kowtowing and knee-bending to our aristocracy and the royal family has been our ruination, in my view.

      Enjoy the cricket!

  • 2nd June 2022 at 10:52 am

    As regards the Royals I have the queen herself to thank for my being a Republican. When I was about 6 she came to launch the Britannia in Clydebank where I lived. Our school was lined up in the pouring rain(naturally). When she passed me she scowled. When I got home I said to my mother the Queen is not nice. Sorry, your Maj, you blew it that day for me.

    I’d like to see Suite Française more widely read. It’s so moving and beautifully written.

    I look forward to reading your other blog.

    • 3rd June 2022 at 8:49 am

      I was actually quite polite in that paragraph and could have said a great deal more. I’m not particularly anti-monarchy but the bowing and scraping and adulation is just beyond ridiculous. And I am not interested in the Jubilee and rather angry that so much money is being spent on the Queen when government cuts predominate throughout our society and have ramifications for so many. End of rant of the day!

      Suite Francaise was just the best thing I’ve read for ages – so very beautifully written.

      Thanks Flora

  • 2nd June 2022 at 11:21 am

    Other then you, I wished I was in the UK right now to enjoy all the festivities. Have to do with the BBC. I am glad your home is as good as ready now, so you can continue with enjoying life! Have a great day Penny!

    • 3rd June 2022 at 8:52 am

      Thanks Nancy – coughs apologetically – not watching anything to do with the Jubilee but will just pop into our street party as it’s more a communal/community thing which is nice.

      Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  • 2nd June 2022 at 12:13 pm

    Hello Penny…I saw your YouTube video on the battle of Lewes. It is fun to find the follow up information here in your blog.
    Husband and I are venturing out more and more, with masks in public places. Our infection numbers have risen from the very lows of double digits/week to 1,000+/week. Numbers are skewed because they only represent testing done at regulated sites and do not include the tons of private home tests that are happening. Thankfully, hospitalizations have not risen.
    We attended a private home potluck meal last evening and are having long-time-no-see family over today. Friday evening is another dinner out with friends to a jazz performance. This is a full week for us! And, it’s FUN stuff…not just a slew of medical appointments. Though we still have plenty of those, too.
    Meanwhile, I finally planted my vegetable garden. June 1st! This is the latest I’ve ever planted! I don’t know how this late date will impact the garden yield. I use to grow so many tomatoes, I would freeze homemade tomato sauce which is just the best in the middle of winter over pasta. Moving to a smaller yard with established landscaping was nice but both husband and I like to putter around in the yard so are now putting our own stamp on it.
    My own reading is more focused on non-fiction. I am in the midst of reading a generational book on our 2nd and 6th American Presidents, a father/son duo. John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams, are my favorite Founding Family of our country’s history. John’s wife, Abigail, mother of John Quincy, was brilliant in her own right. The founding of the United States was an extraordinary time of extraordinary individuals gathered together at a singular time. They were not perfect by any means but still extraordinary. Next up is a biography of a courageous missionary woman whose husband was murdered by the very people they were serving. I hope to be hosting the reading of it like a sort of book club in my home. The number of signups will determine that.
    And, of course, I have my few favorite blogs…like you! Glad to read that you are settled into your new home! Hoping that all the remodeling and construction met your needs. Also, love reading that you are getting back into the swing of things! I look forward to reading more of your adventures!
    Stay well…Charlene

    • 3rd June 2022 at 10:11 am

      Hi Charlene and it is so good to hear of all the events you’re attending and the things you are doing. I have one tomato plant in my little patch but very happy with that, also got a couple of broad bean plants. Broad beans aren’t all that popular as they are seen as bitter but that’s when bought from a grocer or supermarket, when you pick the broad beans from your own garden they’re amazing and lovely to eat.

      I think you’re going through the Omicron wave which we had earlier so our cases have gone down but they are plateauing now and like you we aren’t testing as much as we used to so our government stats show fewer than there are in reality. It’s with us now for a very long time. Like you, it’s good to be getting out and about more often – we have to really.

      I’m continuing to invite long-term friends to our new abode we haven’t seen for some time. And I think London maybe this week? Watch this space! Thank you Charlene – it’s always good to hear from you 😊

  • 2nd June 2022 at 12:46 pm

    Another one not doing the jubilee. War in Europe, rising poverty in Britain, huge rise in the need for food banks….. a disgrace in the 21st century and now a huge show of wealth and privilege.
    Hopefully after a few years of Charles and wife the royals will be consigned to history. Don’t get me started on his wife, I used to teach her children, rudest woman I ever met ( kids were lovely)
    Hope you and Mr F have a lovely, sunny weekend.

  • 3rd June 2022 at 4:25 am

    Oh, what to address first? The virus? It seems most around where we live are going on with their lives as if the last two years had never happened. I wear my mask if I’m in a large enclosed space with lots of people. We don’t do mass transit (I surely would if we had it where we live) so I don’t have to worry about masking up. Our cases are down dramatically in the last few days. But, the price of gas…skyrocketing! I feel so badly for families who have to choose between nutritious food and gas…I keep wondering when all of this horrible stuff will right itself (and if it even will). I tried to watch Nightmare Alley…agree it is beautifully shot…but, I just couldn’t get into it. The Eyes of Tammy Faye had me mesmerized. My mom loved to watch that dumb show. I don’t think (and I really hope) she didn’t ever send in any money. I do think both of their hearts were in the right place in the beginning. Tammy Faye did a lot for the LGBTQIA+ community here. For that, I will think a little higher of her. If you want to see how silly we Americans can get when it comes to religion, watch either “The Fabulous Gemstones” which is a fictionalized show or “The Way Down” which is not. I believe one is on HBOMax and the other is on Netflix. I just finished reading Vanderbilt by Anderson Cooper. It was interesting though a bit choppy…jumping from time to time and sticking only to one branch of the family (quite naturally, I suppose).

    Thanks for all you share. I’m not sure how I feel about the royals as I’m a United Statesian (I believe we are so exclusionary when we say we are Americans). I love the history associated with all of the pomp but agree the money could spent elsewhere…just like the millions if not billions we spend on elections and the races. Oh, I could go on and on so I’ll stop now!


    • 3rd June 2022 at 10:59 am

      Thanks so much Marsha for your interesting reply. First of all, I think both our countries are not testing quite as much, so we don’t see the true figures, a lot of cases are out there but we don’t know about them. I shall wear masks for the foreseeable but even for me I sometimes wonder why I am. Then only yesterday a friend has got it and feels quite poorly, so it’s a mask and one of those tight ones that leave a mark on your face. I’m just being careful but not hiding away which I think is the best policy.

      As for prices we have a double whammy what with the trade with Europe where we get a lot of goods being very tricky after Brexit. Food and especially vegetables are going up big-time here as for petrol for the car – phew! Thank goodness for public transport. But I believe that these price rises will continue for two years – yikes. I feel for the young so much.

      RE: Tammy Faye, in My Other Blog – no I won’t give it away, but that film does get mentioned. Yes, I think their hearts were in the right place to begin with, but the associated idea that these television pastors should be rich and live like kings and queens seems so far away from Christian beliefs. I mean what do I know, as I don’t go to church, but I do know that in the UK pastors are not paid all that much and that is kind of how it goes here.

      Then our Queen, I respect her for her years of service (although I do have some reservations about certain things so I don’t say she’s been brilliant throughout as a lot of people do) but I’m actually not wanting to do away with having a royal family and a King or Queen as the head of state. It’s the adulation and bowing and scraping that goes on – it’s hideous. We should have a royal family rather like the European ones, who are there as part of the furniture of a country so to speak but they’re kind of ignored and live an aristocratic life but not this feudal splendour with palaces and wealth and then are given buckets of money from our State to maintain their wealth – no! It’s all wrong! Not sure how it will pan out when she passes on.

      Thanks so much Marsha – it’s great that we communicate this way

  • 3rd June 2022 at 8:35 am

    It does seem as though people still have mistaken ideas about masks. They were never intended as a measure to stop you catching Covid – they cannot do that – but as an attempt to prevent people with the virus (often unknowingly) from infecting others. So, given the lack of them being worn now, it’s perhaps no surprise that the infection rates remain high.

    • 3rd June 2022 at 8:56 am

      You are right and people have forgotten that it is all about protecting others. But I wear one of those white FPP2 masks, and they’re quite tight and leave a mark around your cheeks and nose and that apparently does offer a little protection. I wear one of those on public transport, and in the cinema, and in places that are less crowded I wear one of those blue masks. I think we should be more like the South Asian countries where masks are normal to wear especially in the winter.

      Thanks Andrea

  • 3rd June 2022 at 10:29 am

    Thanks for another interesting post Penny. Four of my grandchildren were born when I was much younger ; the eldest will be 20 this year and I will be 70. I did not have a lot of time to spend with them but anyway I’d always been clear that I did not want to be a very hands on Granny. I am often surprised by the way some parents seem to expect the grandparents to make child care the focus of their retirements. I’m sure many are delighted to do so but I’ve also heard people say that they find it exhausting but seem unable to say No. We’ve just had a weekend away in your part of the world, based in Eastbourne. I was particularly pleased to go to Herstmonceux & Pevency Castle. Nor long enough away really but I was supposed to start the meds again this week, half dose as I was so ill on the full one. It’s been delayed again with another blood test needed…………so it goes on. I’ve just read ‘The Twyford Code’ the second book by Janice Hallet. Her first, The Appeal, was written in an unusual way and this one is no exception. I think they are both fascinating. My next serious book is going to be ‘The Case Against the Sexual Revolution’ by Louise Perry. It sounds thought-provoking. As to the Jubilee, I find myself quite conflicted. Like most people I admire the Queen who, like all people who have lived to her great age, has witnessed tremendous change in all aspects of society & technology. No amount of wealth or privilege can make you immune to the vicissitudes of life. The Queen has had her share of heartache within her family like most of us do, but hers has been played out in the glare of often ill-informed publicity. Nobody can choose into which family he or she is born and I often think that a little more compassion for the people behind the roles and responsibilities would not go amiss. Of course the pageantry & posturing can seem little short of bonkers in the present day and yet and yet………………I cannot help but feel something which I can’t really name when I watched the Birthday parade yesterday. I really enjoy looking at the clothes and hats as well! Our street is having a party so we’ll go out and have a glass of bubbly later. The cost of these Jubilee events is at least partly offset by the standing costs of the army police etc. & the money which comes into the country because the royals are amongst our national USPs. There were many foreign nationals amongst yesterdays crowds in the Mall. The alternative to the monarch is a President and they are not known for eschewing pomp and circumstance either. Republicans be careful what you wish for!

    • 5th June 2022 at 9:10 am

      Interesting how people of our age differ in their response to grandchildren. We dithered and weren’t sure but are glad we don’t look after him as really it would have been too much. But as he gets older I’m sure we will do a little more and it is lovely to have another grandchild. My 16-yr-old is very grown up now with a life of his own. But I know people who have looked after their grandchildren practically full-time, but they were/are a lot younger than us.

      Glad you got away and hopefully you will be able to tolerate the meds – fingers crossed on that.

      Yes, I’m quite conflicted about the Queen, the royal family not so much, I just don’t approve of them, and that’s that. Too many of them and the flummery is just shocking and is indicative of the layers of our class-bound society that we suffer from. In my eyes the bowing and scraping and adulation is bonkers. And yet, like you, I think there is something else there. In the 50s there was a belief that the King or Queen was touched by God and was there was a sense of ‘otherness’ and mystery surrounding the royal family, all destroyed now by the idea that they should be known more. I remember seeing a documentary in the 60s that revealed the Queen actually driving a car. People today have no idea how revelatory that was, and the flag-waving over these Jubilee days is a faint echo of the reverence felt towards the Queen in the past. And what would we put in place instead of a Queen or King? No way do I want a republic and the types that could be voted in as President! Ideally it should be a very very toned down, slightly ignored royal family like other European countries view their royals. In this day and age that is how it should be and there should be serious debate about the whole concept of royalty. Sadly I doubt there will be any debate and I await with a slight feeling of horror for the day when the Queen passes and the way we will react.

      So it’s OK Lynda I don’t wish for a republic! Have a good Sunday. Rain seems to the stopped and we are going to a street party this afternoon. It would have been sad to have had it in the rain!

  • 3rd June 2022 at 11:27 am

    Hi Penny
    I hope your little grandson is feeling better. I was a bit envious reading this as I miss the days when my two grandkids were small and I got to spend more time with them. Even then I would have liked it to be more. Now they are older adolescents, with very full lives and soon they will be lunching out on their own. Than said, I had a wonderful birthday last week when I went to see my grandson perform at a concert at his high school. My son and daughter in law of course were there as well as my granddaughter just home from her second year of college. And two days before my daughter had cooked a delicious dinner for the whole family in my honor.
    I am completely with you about how much time it takes for maintaining oneself these days. I do try to get in enough walking and yoga, or some weight work. I know if I neglect these activities my body really does not feel good. I mentioned a while back I had gone back to in person yoga classes. the studio gave me a special deal where I received unlimited classes for a month at a reduced rate. A number of years ago I trained as a yoga teacher, even taught a bit myself at some local studios. after the month I realized that I was not having the experience wanted from the classes, so I am back to practicing on my own. This means have to really motivate myself. I feel so much less achy and sore when I make the effort to practice regularly. I would also like to add meditation to this routine. I have done it off and on over the years, probably mostly off. There are times I feel so despondent over where we are as a country and really as a planet. perhaps meditation might help, if done regularly. I just don’t know.
    I am currently reading Amor Towles ” The Lincoln Highway” I loved his A Gentleman In Moscow and Rules of Civility. This book is completely different. he is such a good writer. I am having more trouble concentrating lately, so my reading has suffered. Again, maybe meditation would help.
    I enjoyed your short movie about Lewes celebration. It seems like such an interesting place. I am happy you are settling in and becoming part of this interesting community. Darby

    • 5th June 2022 at 9:33 am

      Yes, it is lovely to have a little one in the family again as like you, the 16-yr-old is very grownup now and has a life of this own. He doesn’t need a grandma in the school holidays to look after him one bit! Actually I was never completely sure that Oscar had chicken-pox as his spots were mainly around the nappy-rash area although there was a bit more than usual. But he’s got a huge back molar coming through and I rather wonder if the rash and the temperature was all about teething.

      Yes, the maintenance gets very heavy as we get older, especially the exercise. Not doing the exercises as regularly as I should have through those days when we moved made my hip feel quite sore but as soon as I do exercises every day it eases. And if I relapse and miss a couple of days I always notice it. On Friday we walked further up into the Downs (which are gentle hills) than we have done for a long time. And blow me down, I’d left my Fitbit at home so couldn’t log those steps – was so annoyed!

      How disappointed you must be that the yoga class wasn’t up to scratch. Maybe look for another yoga teacher? I always find the Pilates class not quite as good an experience as my 1-2-1 but I do it because it is the time to do something! And the stretching, the movement and the classic Pilates moves push my body to a better state than at the beginning of the class.

      Ah yes, I have that Amor Towles book ordered at the library – I’m looking forward to reading it!

      I have been doing some mindful meditation regularly just before bedtime and it really has helped my sleep. As for the state of the world I do believe that up to a point we have to be aware of the ghastliness out there. But to remain sane we have to distract ourselves as much as possible just to keep ourselves from dissolving into a state of panic and despair, so yes, meditation, family, friends, exercise, cultural activities are vitally important but voting out certain parties in our respective nations remains an absolute must!!! Yikes! I hope we can!

      Have a good Sunday and thank you for your comment, Darby, I love hearing about your life 😊

      • 7th June 2022 at 2:45 pm

        Hi Penny,
        I don’t want to see the royal family parading in their various outfits.
        I think Charles and Anne seem to work quite hard but why do they all need to own several homes? I feel given the chance to speak to them I would say, please share your good fortunes with those who are really struggling to feed their families.
        All the best Penny x

  • 3rd June 2022 at 12:01 pm

    Morning Penny
    Thanks for another interesting blog.
    You’ve certainly been busy this month! Not much viewing/reading done here; finally finished The Sopranos and enjoyed it even more second time round. I read an interesting article/interview with the creators of The Wire and think I’ll try a re-run of that but for now it’s Better Call Saul. I agree with you – it’s great.
    Reading: we enjoyed and have been sharing with friends our ideas/feelings/responses to 4000 Weeks (Oliver Burkeman). It is good. Out of the blue I received a copy of The Premonitions Bureau by Sam Knight. I’ve no idea who sent it and it is not the sort of book I would have purchased, but it is very interesting. So I thank the universe since I can’t thank the sender.
    I’ve been enjoying time in the garden and have become hooked on Wordplay – can easily lose half an hour on that.
    Last week London was throbbing with hardly anyone wearing masks and the rules are ridiculous: if you have covid you can go out. We were with some American friends who were shocked at this laid back approach and hardly removed their masks. They were very excited about the jubilee, they love the pomp and pageant. I purchased some purple accessories for them. Yesterday they sent photos wearing them for a special jubilee dinner on the Queen Mary 2.
    Like you, we’re enjoying some time with friends/family over the long weekend, but we’re not supporters of the monachy – there through birth/marriage rather than skills/ability/values etc. But so many people love it – encouraged by the media, of course: royalty sell. I’d prefer an elected head of state similar to Ireland and some community events/days. Of course, that’s a long, long way off but there is a little light: according to a YOU GOV poll 56% of people in UK do not plan to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee this weekend. And I’ve just seen Boris & Carrie Johnson booed as they entered St Paul’s – so there is hope for our country yet! 😉
    I hope you enjoy the gathering with your community – good timing to meet your new neighbours.
    All the very best, Mary

    • 5th June 2022 at 9:47 am

      Oh that booing of Johnson and Carrie was excellent. I did turn the television on to see the people arriving for the church service and I watched all the minor royals turn up, in a coach, for goodness sake. Then the major royals and three cheers for Megan and Harry, I love her so and think she was treated disgracefully by the media. They’re always saying that the Queen has ruled so well, and has done nothing wrong. I beg to differ, she has, especially re: her family, ruining Princess Margaret’s life for starters. Obviously there’s Diana, and then the shutting out of Harry and then all the divorces amongst her children. There’s too much veneration and not enough critical debate about the role of the royals and the Queen in particular. It’s almost as if we’re not allowed to do this! But I’m truly not sure about us having a republic – just not sure. I’d rather the royal family was there but very much in the background and almost ignored like all the other royal families in Europe – that’s much healthier. We’ll see how it pans out with Charles.

      I see the creator of The Wire has another series on NowTv, we will watch that. But The Wire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul are unique amongst many. Do you remember Hill Street Blues though? That was the precursor to The Wire I think. And yes, one day we shall revisit The Wire which was truly the greatest.

      Thank you Mary, have a good Sunday and let’s hope the rain keeps off all those street parties – shame the weather broke but hey, its June in England and that’s the kind of weather we have!

      All the very best to you too x

      • 5th June 2022 at 12:12 pm

        I really can’t agree with you about the booing of Johnson. I abhor the man but he was there in his role as PM not as an individual and this was being watched across the world. We have all made mistakes in our lives and many of us have children who have fallen out with each other or been divorced. The difference is that our disappointments and failures remain within our private circle, the Queen’s are public property to be sensationalised and salivated over by a voracious media pandering to the worst of our instincts. Princess Margaret chose her royal status over her personal life. One might say she should not have had to do that & things are different now but it was a choice nonetheless.

  • 5th June 2022 at 1:53 pm

    Penny, I do hope you’ll share the name of your other blog. I, too, try to keep my opinion of world events from this blog, and don’t have the energy for a second blog, so I would love reading yours. Like you, we love Better Call Saul and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. My husband and I are retired, so I totally understand how your days are filled. Neither of us is just waiting around for something to do. I’m sorry your grand baby has chicken pox. Speedy recovery! (I had chickenpox when I was 35. I don’t recommend it. I thought I would die.) And don’t get me started on religion in our country… It’s the most bizarre bag of crap, and it’s working it’s way into our politics. As an American, I find the monarchy a strange concept, but I am amazed at the Queen still doing so much at her advanced age.


    • 7th June 2022 at 11:51 am

      Hi Michelle and apologies for the delay in replying but I have been working on and just published a piece on my other blog, which is called My Other Blog! You can access it via this blog. It’s the icon on the side if reading on a PC or Mac and at the end if you are reading this on a phone.

      Yes, I’ve just finished it but really dithered as to whether I should publish it but I have! I really hope I haven’t been too critical but it is about the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Yes, that.

      Actually I’m not sure whether Oscar really had chicken-pox. Was it just a bad attack of nappy rash and being out of sorts with the big molar coming through? He’s better now and yes, it’s good to have it when you’re young as it can be awful to have it when older. So sorry you had it at 35!

      Our Queen is amazing but she is getting a bit frailer than before, not surprising at the age of 96! I think the other royals are taking over some duties. The adulation though is bonkers, and not very healthy either for the royals or the way we see ourselves. it will be interesting to see how it pans out when Charles becomes King.

      Thanks Michelle – have a good rest of the week!

  • 6th June 2022 at 3:04 pm

    Some great recommendations there, Penny. Thank you. I’ve loved the ‘Beck’ series and have also read the 10 books the series was originally based on written by a Swedish couple in the 1960s. I have ‘Wigs on the Green’ to read and am feeling disappointed – I loved ‘The Pursuit of Love’. I have ‘Suite Francaise’ still to read and will put in my pile of ‘to be reads’ based on your review of it. It’s hard to read something knowing how the author’s life ended so tragically.

    Glad you are living such a busy life!

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