The Last Furlong

Comments on the race of life.


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Waste not want not

For ten days, I have eaten everything I’ve wanted to. Mr Furlong, who is the chef in the Furlong household, has made some pretty yummy food, including Fudge and Coconut Ice. Our cupboards have been groaning with food.

The wrong kind of food.

It’s been wonderful!

But the last delivery that Mr Furlong ordered, arrived with NO stollen, top iced Christmas cake, shortbread, mince pies, chocolate, or Marzipan. He is not making Fudge or Coconut Ice.

I don’t know what I’m going to do. The end is nigh!

2021 is going to be a year of want.

But it will only begin for me when I’ve finished eating the last of the delicious things that are still left over from Christmas.

I hate waste!

I will check my blood sugar and weight when I’ve scoffed what’s left.

Happy New Year again and again, till it’s not.


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Fragrances

The Furlongs are busy.

Mr Furlong is about to make fudge for Christmas consumption. It gets packed in celophane bags with bows for gifting to our neighbours. We usually have a Christmas bash on the Saturday night before Christmas. But with lockdown that’s gone to pot. The neighbours used to get gifts of apple jelly, or marmelade, or gooseberry jam and such like, and potpourri in muslin bags from me.

I have special potpourri this year. And special bags. I just have to get them packed.

This house usually gets an extra Christmas clean for the party. But there is no party. But I’m doing it anyway. My sister is coming for Christmas dinner. She is the only person in our ‘bubble’. Her home looks like illustrations in a home and garden magazine. I never compete, it’s pointless. Our mini oven is held together by rust, our microwave is an original edition, the kitchen has old fashioned shelves where dishes, plates, vases, mugs, and junk are on display, every counter is cluttered and there is not a new item of furniture anywhere. Its a battered home. I love it because you never need to worry about mucking anything up.

During the pandemic we have forgotten to buy furniture polish. And the old bottle of amazing polish made by my friend is empty. I believe it was a ‘secret’ recipe, inherited from ancestors. It was the most incredible stuff for resurrecting battered furniture. Our Christmas will total three old people, pretty battered ourselves. Pity there wasn’t some kind of amazing furniture polish for us.

I have been ‘polishing’ our furniture with my homemade polish. It’s about the same recipe I add to the pot pourri, with more oil. I think it smells beautiful. It’s improved the old pieces standing around the place.

I asked Mr Furlong what he thought of the fragrance.

He said hesitantly “It smells like Turps?”

No, sir, it doesn’t!

Don’t expect me to rave about the aroma wafting from the kitchen when you make your fudge. I shall pretend I never noticed.


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I’m not really dreaming of Christmas 2020

I see the UK Government got challenged as to why they are trying to make Christmas “nice” when Diwali, Hanukkah, Eid were “nasty” because of Covid restrictions.

Well, I would suggest that it’s because White British is the largest group in the UK, with 45.1 million people (80.5 per cent) in it. 59.3% of the population (33.2 million people) identify as Christian. For all those people, the MAJORITY, Christmas is THEIR celebration.

That’s why there are complaints about the Christmas ads from all the big stores. None of them with actual people in them, are white people!

Talk about cultural expropriation! Everyone is having a good old Christmas, except the natives!

It’s called bending over blackwards! Its so obvious it’s embarrassing – for everyone.

It might be a laugh for some.

But it isn’t really funny.

Is it?


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The health MOT

My annual health MOT has been done. The last one was eighteen months ago. Here, in the North West of the UK, our doctors seem to be shunnelling patients through as pretty much usual now, despite the inconvenience of masks and single patients per buulding as we move along in the new Covid19 age.

Lots of face to face talking is done on the phone, or skype or zoom. Everyone I know waiting for cancer ops has been done. And should you suspect something nasty is taking hold, you can have real blood tests and a real live doctor look at you. And go to a real, live hospital.

Recently Mr Furlong had a heart scare. Mr Furlong has a ‘heart’ condition. He got to see a doctor chop chop. No complaints about the National Health Service here.

So, despite being late on my health MOT, I’ve had it. For that, I had to actually be seen by the Nurse Practitioner. My admiration for her is immense. She wears that mask all day and used her eyes to communicate. Big eyes for listening, squeezy eyes smiling, frowny eyes in agreement. Rolly eyes for sympathy.

I’m glad I saw her. She takes blood with the least pain. I got measured, weighed, and tested.

A week later she phoned to discuss my results. I saw my results beforehand on Patient Access. Patient Access is a neat app that allows you to research your own medical history.

During lockdown I ate. And ate. I convinced myself that if I had only been prediabetic beforehand, I was now actually diabetic. I convinced the Nurse Practitioner too.

Well, I think the Nurse Practitioner was just as surprised as me to find that EVERYTHING about me is EXACTLY the same as my last MOT, eighteen months ago.

EVERYTHING.

No! Thats not true. My cholesterol has gone down.

The birthday approaches. I dislike birthdays. No wonder everyone wishes you a ‘happy’ one. Why else would they unless there was something nasty about birthdays?

But being the same in every way as I was one and a half years ago, seems a good result to me. It’s the sort of birthday present I like.


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My first outing

When I was teaching in a primary school, a popular topic for writing letters was “Write to your aunt/grandma/uncle/grandpa telling them about…….”

“Dear Aunt Emily RIP,

My first outing after lockdown was pretty disappointing. I lost it.

In public.

And I was very rude to a stranger, which I regret.

What happened was this.

Mr Furlong drove me and the dog, (sorry, the dog and I) up to Asda so that I could choose a few plants for our garden which is now mostly weeds. (or should which be that?)

The dog was on a retractible lead.

I chose a trolley which (or possibly that) I spritzed well with my isopropyl alcohol 70% spray, and started off to the outdoor plant section. Somewhere deep inside the Trolley Bank, the dog found a large dried out (or dried-out) chop bone with spiky points that people call T bones. The dog was delighted, but I was horrified. It’s exactly the very bone we would never ever feed him. (Or should I have written, the very bone, rather than exactly the very bone?)

I yelled “NO”.

He dropped the bone. I kicked it out of the way. He ran after it. And I ran after it too for I’m not a good kicker at 75 (or should that be seventy five) and don’t kick that far. So I kicked the bone around for awhile, yelling all the time. Eventually the dog won the match and chomped the bone up while (or maybe whilst) I stood over him beating him over the head and yelling some more.

During this dignified performance, a man took advantage of my mental health problem, by snitching my meticulously cleaned trolley.

I’m afraid, Aunt Emily, I did not behave well.

I do not wish to tell you about it. But the man looked surprised.

Anyway, I did actually walk the dog home, and fortunately, half way home, it absolutely bucketed down with rain. (Not sure if bucketed is a word). It was fortunate, because it took my mind off things as (or should that be because) I had no raincoat or brolly with me. ( or should that be nor?)

That is all I have to say Aunt Emily RIP,

Hope to see you soon,

Your niece,

Susan

XXXX

(Or perhaps the XXXX is wrong)

With love might be better?

Hope to see you soon,

With love,

Susan.”


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Special day

Today was an extra special day. It is 2020 Palendrome day.

Here is the Math…but….

It was also Mr Furlong and our daughters birthdays. We had a good meal out. No math needed for that, except to pay the bill!

Or daughter was born in the early morning in a nursing home with all the latest equipment, during a hot Southern hemisphere summer.

Mr Furlong was born on the floor next to the bed whilst his mother was alone, waiting for help to come. Dad missing in the house high snowdrifts, trying to get the midwife, on a black dark midnight of the worst winter Britain has ever known.


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Midnight snack

I started writing this blog in 2014 because I couldnt sleep.

Not sleeping went on for some months. Must have been going through some hormonal change or something, because suddenly my insomnia corrected itself.

Occasionally I suddenly awake with clear mind, energy and a feeling that it’s sad to waste such a rare thing by trying to sleep.

Tonight I fancied a midnight snack. Dates, nuts and figs.

When I was a kid, we used to eat sardines and condensed milk under the floorboards of a rambling old wattle plantation estate house that my uncle lived in, in Africa. It was quite dangerous really, climbing down, giggling with excitement, in the black darkness of the night, illuminated only by the faint glow of erratic torchlight. There could have been snakes, spiders or scorpions there.

There are none here in my bed.

Dates, nuts and figs come from Africa. They are full of sunshine.

And sugar.

They are going to bugger up my glucose readings in the morning. But you know what?

I don’t care.


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Eating grass

Behind our home, is a field. But dogs are not allowed to run on it. The people who own it, want it kept poo-less so children can play on it.

It looks nice. But actually, it isn’t really. It has invisible furrows and bumps in it, so small dogs and small children simply disappear into holes and long grass that looked smooth from the top.

Our dog Bass, is not a small dog. He would manage running free on the field just fine. But he isn’t allowed.

But the field contains dog gold. It contains grass!

Bass eats grass. He gets DESPERATE to eat grass it seems. Not any old grass will do. Bass eats grass that he has carefully selected. It has to be special grass. Now and again he goes on a grass eating binge.

And so I take him on a long lead to the field. He takes a ages selecting the right grass, as I stand in rain, hail or shine, waiting while he munches.

Recently, I found he’d eaten all his ‘special’ grass that we have purposefully planted in our garden. It was freezing cold and teeming rain, and after ten at night. I was buggered if I was going to take him to the field.

So I put on my raincoat, and head torch. I splooshed around pulling out clumps of his special variety grass and brought it indoors, to our lounge, where Bass had a happy half hour eating his hay, while we watched TV.

Everyone was happy.

And the grass is chemical free, poop free and child free as none of those things have ever been near it.


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Bird food – someday

The Furlongs haven’t bought bird food since the birds disappeared from our garden in 2018. The great bird sucking vortex in the sky.

But its cold and the Wood mice eat it too.

And maybe there’s a hungry bird out there……somewhere.

So we bought bird food seeds and fat balls.

Since then, the weather has been frightful, atrocious, appalling.

No human or bird, nor wood mice would ever go out in that weather.

But we promise to put it all out in the garden, some day soon believing that “if you build it, they will come.”


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Fairy stories for dogs

A while back, Bass-the-dog and I met The Pie Piper.

Today, we met him again. Only this time, the man was throwing the pie packaging into the bin and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

The Pie Piper is a scary looking fellow. He had a checked lumberjack shirt on and the same big boots. Bass loves him. But obviously we met at the end of his meal and there were no crumbs for Bass.

But wait!

All the way along the path home Bass was eating flakes of pastry, crusts and tidbits that had fallen on the Pie Piper’s walk to the bin.

The Pie Piper is a messy eater, obviously.

I think today he’d swapped fairy tales and was Hansel from Hansel and Gretel.