The Last Furlong

Comments on the race of life.

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Easter hunt

I am organising an Easter egg hunt for the grandchildren.

The Furlongs have done it before.

Many times.

But this Easter it’s different to the many times in the past when we did it for our own five children when they were growing up.

We don’t have to hide chocolate eggs cautiously, secretly the night before in the dark, whilst taking care not to walk on a snake, or discover a scorpion nestling in the bushes. Or placing the eggs at cunning heights so the St Bernand or Doberman or Rottweiler or whatever the large dog we had at the time was, didn’t scoff the lot, silver paper and all, before the morning.

This time, there won’t be any chocolate at all. I’m going to hide small gifts and fruit and biscuits in secret places in our garden.

And I could place them really low down near the ground about half an hour before the grandchildren arrive.

I’d have to do that, because even here, in our garden, we have devious animals that could scoff the lot in the twinkling of a night star. Or the light of day.

Greedy creatures like EINSTEIN the rat, or our very own BASS the dog.


Not too bad

17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24, and now its today. I haven’t written here for eight days.

Eight days!

I dont know what happened.

It wasn’t done on purpose to see if anyone might enquire how I was. They didn’t.

Those eight days have been not too bad. I enjoyed them.


Illicit visits

The Furlongs are looking foreward to a real visit from the family. We’ve had a few illicit ones.

These consist in sitting in our cars in the little parking lot next to the field behind our flat. From there we can talk through our car windows whilst the grandkids run on the field. Well, if the weather is good.

Our last car visit ended up in a tropical downpour and greats splots of rain driving onto us through the open windows. We usually meet a lunchtime and scoff our packed lunches together whilst catching up on the news. I can see my face in the side mirror. It really is depressing. My face at rest is decidely gloomy. I must remember to smile.

I might smile if there was a sunny day and we were all comfortable and warm in our own garden.

We have exceptionally nice neighbours. Yesterday, I delivered a bottle of garden fertiliser we were sharing to our next door neighbour.

A strange thing happened.

We had a moment of forgetfulness. Simultaneously. When the old lady came to the door she reverted to habit as in the past, when we have had pleasant chatting sessions with me sitting on her sofa rather than hanging over the fence. She said “Oh, DO come in!” So I did without a second thought.

It was only when we were well into sharing our thoughts on all sorts of topics that Covid came up and sort of simultaneously, it dawned on us that me sitting on the sofa and her relaxed in her armchair, as of old, was absolutely forbidden. We were breaking the rules. Furthermore, both she and I had moved out of our bubbles. We were being NAUGHTY!

How to escape?

Had the neighbours seen me enter her flat? Should I slither out of the back door and shin over the fence? Should I just leave and hope no one would see? All our neighbours are either shielding or in tight bubbles as we are old – all old.

I felt really guilty. Shocked really at how we both just ‘forgot’.

So I slithered out of her front door just as all the dogs were arriving home from their morning walk. It seemed as good a distraction as any.

And I came home behind them with my tail between my legs.

So to speak.



I have a post I am going to make today, but I have been sidetracked and horrified to find there are comments “pending”. They seem to have been “pending” for a while. I never knew! I have now unpendicated them. Thank you for them all!

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Hey Women and men!

The Furlongs grew up and lived in a dangerous place – Africa. We were aware. We took precautions. Life balanced on the edge of our own awareness to stay safe from wild life and violence. Even so, some of us had horrible experiences that people here in the UK have never faced.

Since then, the whole world now has become a dangerous place – and gets more dangerous as we move into the future.

No one else can really protect us. We need to protect ourselves.

I want my grandchildren to know about online grooming so they do not get pulled in to such a situation. I want them to avoid online porn, or at least know that porn is not sex. I want them to know how to stay safe when they go out. I want them to grow up wise, knowing the way to be safe starts with them.

I believe the days when women and men could swan through life expecting always to be safe, is a myth, a fairy-tale. It never happened in the past – and never will!

Take care of YOURSELVES.


A question of colour

Mrs Furlong’s father (that’s my father) was a redhead.

Mr Furlong’s mother was a redhead.

According to legend, Mrs Furlong (me) had red hair when she was born. But it fell out and was replaced by thin blonder-than-blonde hair that no sane human would desire. She got stuck with it her whole life. As a child, she looked like a sucked mango pip, bleached white, with match-stick legs and arms.

Mrs Furlong’s redhead father was a very smart man, a scientist. A very sharp scientist who was sent to America for a year to find out and bring back to darkest Africa knowledge regarding milk and milk products for his laborotary. But unfortunately Mrs Furlong’s father preferred alcohol as his tipple, a fact that shortened his life considerably.

Mr Furlong’s redhead mother was a sharp cookie too. And gifted. She had a gift of piano playing from ear, any composition, any tune, any key. She was found to be essential as an accompaniest to the soloists in pantomimes and performances by singers who wandered in and out of keys during productions of musicals in the community because she could play on simply by spontaneously transposing to a different key. She entertained us for hours on the piano after meals and at parties. As a tiny child, the piano teacher refused to teach her because “she never followed the music”. She never had another lesson after that.

She was a smashing cook!

Mr Furlong’s father, ex navy officer after the war,  entertained himself by blotting out memories of the atomic bomb flash which he witnessed from his ship, by remaining mostly addled, but very entertaining in bars and pubs and parties for the rest of his life.

As parents, we had much discussion about who might inherit what aspect of intelligence, alcoholism, and hair that was so clear in our genetic heritage.

It was the subject of every conversation each time a new baby was due. And there was much talk about gender. Everyone contemplated the genetic chances of this or that, family, friends, and strangers too.

Girl? Boy? Who knew? It was always a surprise. Red, blonde, brunette. Dimples, nose, ears. All was discussed. Constantly.

At birth, it was all about the hair.





Now, in case no one knows, people with red hair often have a very unfortunate skin colour that haunts them all their lives. They are cursed with WHITE, delicate skin that keeps them out of the sun, that turns blotchy very easily, blushes, and produces freckles, bullying and derision in school.

In favour of red-heads is they are supposed to be more intelligent than the rest of us.

I produced three blonds, one brunette and one red-head. All of them are sharp cookies. They are now middle aged. None have turned into alcoholics. Nor musicians.

All have children themselves. And, guess what?


The red-heads are there! (and,of course, the skin.)

I was thinking about the dreadful racism Meghan has suffered when someone asked her about the colour baby Archie might be. It was her first baby. I think she didn’t know that people would wonder. I wondered myself.

Bless her, poor thing. She had no family of her own to endlessly cogitate what qualities would appear in the next family baby like we did. Times have changed.

But, I wonder, is Archie a redhead?

Or is that racist?


Sunday Lunch

Sunday lunch is poking around amongst the rocks and plants under the bird feeders.

At last the birds are coming back to our garden. Mr Furlong and I have worked hard recently to add flutter cover for birds since we  stupidly cut it all down in an attempt to make our garden ‘neat’.

It was so neat, any self respecting birds avoided it and settled in other people’s gardens instead. In a month or so, the creepers will be up covering the new arch and the wire fence,  now exposed, will fill with Clematis, Jasmin and Ornamental Hopps.

Bird paradise.

But this morning Sunday Lunch is here.

There is Sunday Lunch A and Sunday Lunch B. They are a couple. Sunday Lunch A, is HUGE! He would make a delicious meal for two.

Perfect for our Sunday Lunch.