The Last Furlong

Comments on the race of life.



No question about it.

I am depressed.

I am so depressed, I couldn’t be arsed to do anything about it.

Maybe tomorrow I might feel better. Maybe tomorrow doing anything at all might feel easier, less effortful, less painful, less exhausting, more normal in the territory of cultural and political insanity that is infecting our lands. Maybe tomorrow might be a good day.

Family, friends and neighbours don’t actually ask old people about their mental health, their oncoming entropy and decay, and their approaching death do they? They don’t like talking about it, because there is nothing to say. And asking is too intrusive. If you mention your depression to your doctor you might get a session or two of CBT on the National Health Service . But who wants to talk it through with a therapist that looks about eighteen and knows fuck all about being old?

Thank god we are retired and old and invisible,

and I can feel depressed in peace

in the privacy of home!

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Tonight is a big event

Every year, except last year, we watch Eurovision on the telly. Us oldies gather with some grandkids and their Mom and Dad to watch the show in the comfort of our lounge. We endulge in a meal first of yummy roast something with roast potatoes, veg and delicious gravy prepared by Mr Furlong, followed by bowls of crisps or popcorn passed around as we discuss the merits or demerits of each entry.

This year we are having roast leg of mutton – yes mutton, not lamb.

This year is doubly special. It is the first time for many months that anyone has entered our home! We are breaking out of lockdown. At last. It’s an ‘event’, a memorable event.

Mr Furlong is a magnificent cook. This year, a leg of mutton is most unusual. It’s hard to get here in the UK. Everyone goes for lamb for some reason. But mutton has a special rich flavour and Mr Furlong is making his home made mint sauce. The meal is going to be grand.

Not sure if the same can be said for Eurovision.

We watched the tail end of the third selection event. It is getting more garish by the year.

It seems that nowaday, all you need is to yell as loudly as possible on a stage of flashing lights that induce epilepsy in the audience and judges, so that all sanity and taste is obliterated.

Thank god we are eating BEFORE the show.

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Katie Fluxman in Palestine. What happened to you after 1938?

In 1938 my mother was in England, in London, at university. She shared lodgings with her friend Katie Fluxman. She wrote a lot about her adventures with Katie when, later, my mother became a writer.

But in 1938 there were rumblings and rumours of war. My mother decided to return home, to Africa. But Katie and Katie’s partner were completely over the moon because they had decided to settle in Palestine (as it then was). They were Jewish. Palestine was their ultimate dream. They would be building a new country, for the Jewish people and make a nation.

So the two friends separated, one, agnostic to return ‘home’ and the other, to make a new ‘home’ for her people.

I know the story of my mother, but I have always wondered how Katie Fluxman fared. She married her man and they arrived in Palestine to build a new country in about 1938.

They are all dead now, but, once, the fire of youth burned bright; young people setting out to change the world.

Where are the children of Katie Fluxman? You will be about my age. What happened to Katie?

It would be nice to know.

PS. I have accidently ‘found’ two sets of people through this blog in the past. Maybe it could happen again.

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Many years ago, I posted this video here on this blog.

No news.

Nothing has changed.

Its still the same!

The Promised Land…….


Dog sounds

Our dog Bass, makes all kinds of unusual sounds we have never heard in all the dogs we’ve had before. And we’ve owned a lot of dogs in our four score years and ten as dog lovers.

Bass is small, looks like a Lancashire Heeler, sounds like an Alsation. People are surprised at his huge, scary bark.

When he is pleased, he makes a grumbling sound like “grumble,yummie,grumble, rumble, oof oof” in a deep voice from the back of his throat. Or ” mmmmmmmmmaaaahuuuummm” For a tummy rub.

When curious, “sniffy, sniffy, grunt, snort, grunt, sniff”.

He talks to himself often. Groaning with stretch, sighing into relaxation, aaa-hing at rolling over.

One could say he’s a verbal dog.

He has many different barks.

“Let me in please! “

“Let me out please!”

“Hey! Look at me!”

These are short commands to his servants.

“Postman!” At the mail slot with dog proof recieving bag installed after our mail got delivered to us by Bass in shredded pieces.

“Delivery! Delivery! Delivery!” With wild tail wagging and frantic racing up and down the hall.

“Dog walker coming!” short alert as he watches the gate from the back of the sofa at dog walk time.

At night, at exactly bedtime (for him) he gives us his stare and makes a pathetic tiny whine reproving us for our tardiness in preparing for bed.

On cleaning teeth, he makes “grumble, yummie, aaah, slobber” noises.

But yesterday, we heard a sound never heard before in any of our dogs ever. As we arrived home in the car, we were distracted by things happening in the street. We both got out, leaving Bass sitting peacefully on the back seat. For some reason, a surge of power entered my arthritic limbs, I SLAMMED my door shut. Even I was startled at the sound.

Bass piggy-squealed with fright and lept onto the back shelf in terror. Not a yelp, a piggie-squeal!

He enjoyed the comforting he got afterwards though.

And I felt really bad for scaring him.


Getting old

For several years, these old Furlongs have participated in University Studies. This entails regular interviews over the phone during Covid, and pre-Covid, face to face interviews about all manner of things pertaining to how getting old affects us, or, in the old days, religion, philosophy, grown children, health, lifestyle etc.

Last week we completed an extra long study.This week we start a new one from a different department and we are in a control group.

As we age, the interviewers seem to get younger. They, personally have not always designed the study. But I hope they report to their masters in the department.

The very last question in the last interview of the last study that completed last week was:

“How optimistic are you about your future life?”

I replied

“Well, I am seventy six. I have no optimism about my future life. In my future I am going to gradually enter an entropic state of physical decay and then death.There is no part of that that could infuse optimism in me.”

I don’t  know what Mr Furlong said.

But no one has ever asked us “Are you enjoying getting old?”

No one in their right mind would ask a question like that because everyone can see that getting old, infirm, gagga, doddery, frail, slow, forgetful, tired, grumpy, weak, clumsy, deaf, blind or dead, is not something you enjoy, its just something you endure.

Because you HAVE to.

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Siberian wind

My last post mentioned visitors in the garden.

We are having a busy weekend. Yesterday we had visitors. Mr Furlong makes a brilliant coffee.

Yesterday would have been smashing if we hadn’t frozen in the Arctic wind. 

After the visitors had left, I raced in and made two hot water bottles, one for the front and one for the back of me. One was for Mr Furlong actually, but he sacrificed it to me.

Now today, we are doing this madness all over again. We are visiting other people in THEIR garden, in the country. 

The sun will be shining. The Spring flowers will be lovely. The birds will be singing. It will be a beautiful day.

And I am going in my big fake fur coat, with my fake fur hat and my fake leather gloves and my fake wool scarf and my winter socks and big boots. 

Sitting for two hours in the freezing wind will be better today. Less stressful I think.

And our hosts will be amused at the madness of their visitor looking like a Siberian Cossack sipping coffee in their very English garden.