The Last Furlong

Comments on the race of life.


Under the hosepipe

It’s been so hot here in the UK. People ask us if we miss the heat. No, we bloody dont!

I have told the story here about how my respected author and lecturer mother used to don her antique bathing costume and sit in the shade of her orange tree under the hosepipe to get cool on a hot African day.

Did I warn you that dogs ‘catching’ water from the hose as they play about on a hot day can drown? People don’t know that.  Vets do.

But I don’t think I told you the story of how we once had a real traditional English Christmas under a hosepipe.

English people, then, did English things in Africa. Like wearing serge gym tunics with neck ties for girls and shirts, ties and long trousers for boys at school, in the heat. I once taught at a very posh school where the headmistress tannoyed the girls that they would be allowed to unbutton the top shirt button and loosten their ties because the day was hot.

Christmas was very British for us. Roast turkey, and roast potatoes, all the sauces and trimmings, and, of course Brussel sprouts and a glazed Ham. The final flourish was a blazing pudding.

All this in the middle of an African summer.

One particularly hot summer, when we lived in the only single story house we ever had, we trained hosepipes over the roof and the front walls on Christmas day.

We celebrated Christmas under hosepipes until we could afford airconditioning.



The Furlong’s are not a sporty family. Being genetically very fair, with a red-head gene, running anywhere for more than two seconds results in flushed red faces and bulging eyes. It is such an ugly sight that, as children, one decides not to go the sport route ever. My school life consisted in avoiding all sport, period.

Last night’s football game was awesome to watch. How can any human being run for so long and remain upright? Or in control of their minds? Or even aware of other players around them? I am glad England won. I hope they win the whole jolly lot. They are modern warriors.

Last night Mr Furlong and I remembered our African roots. Chaka’s warriors were legendary. They were reported to be able to run all day without stopping, their speed being one reason for their blitzkrieg. The other was their fighting tactic of encircling the enemy and constricting them to their death. The Mfekane was a terrible thing. It rearranged the whole of Southern Africa.

Ex president Zuma of South Africa (a Zulu) has fomented a few old Zulu warriors to arise. They have collected at his homestead in Nkandla. Of course they look nothing like their forebears as most of them have beer bellies and look very unfit. They also could not run for a whole soccer match without collapsing in a puddle of grease and cow hides. But they look scary just the same and could cause trouble. Its nothing to be sneered at. The pride of tribe runs in every vein, even The Furlongs!

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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…….

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Thanks for the memories

Gosh, I had a dreadful night for coughing. Not coughing coughing, but for a tickly throat coughing – a tiny tickle-worm that bored into the back of my tonsil despite sleeping with fragments of Bronco Stop stuck to the roof of my mouth.

I eventually got up.

My bedside clock said 5:30. My wristwatch said 2:20.

They can’t both be right. But my tablet confirmed 5:30 and having nothing much else to do, I browsed it. I discovered I have ‘contacts’ on my tablet. I didn’t know. They are email contacts, new and also from a thousand years or so ago. Hundreds of them!

I’ve just been on a blast from the past!

I see I sorted many into groups. ‘Party invites’. ‘Petition’. ‘Xmas list’. ‘Village play’. ‘Computer classes’. ‘Friends’. ‘Aquaintances’.

Once, I was a busy person.

In the old email days.

Now I just use WhatsApp.

I’ve lost contact with those folk who don’t.

I found so many people in my email contacts lists, were dead. Dead, gone and buried.

Oh the nostalgia. It was almost too hard to bear.

I do hope to meet you all again on the flipside. It was good knowing you. We had fun.

Thanks for the memories.

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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.

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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.


Morning Math

American presidential elections are a puzzlement to those not living there.

Something really strange happened to this one.

I personally have no doubt Trump won it.

Here’s a nice short video showing something undeniably odd.

2020 must be one of the strangest years in history.

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A very British movie worth watching and an American cousin

While we are all in lockdown with time on our hands, there are two very different movies we watched which are worth the trouble,

The first is a very British war film called 1917. It might not have been appreciated in countries where Britishness is lost, or not understood. It’s reserved, stiff upper lip, restrained and about a war hero no one remembers. The incidents are true.

The Furlongs enjoyed every minute. You might too.

The second is a very American war film called Midway also constructed from the memories of those who were there. And also about heros no one remembers. It’s grim, and tense and loud!

Both films don’t do “music”. 2017 is deficient of soundtrack music.

I like that!

Who wants to be side-tracked by a musical score?

See what you think…..

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We all know Jack Schitt

The news is going from bad to worse. Boris is misbehaving. He’s CLOSING pubs!!!! Trump is misbehaving. He got BETTER!!. Biden is misbehaving. He LIES! Masks are useless they say, or not, we don’t know. Students, robbed of their right to happiness are revolting. They are getting drunk and dancing in the street rebelliously. Some say they DESERVE to be joyful, they are young after all. Others say they are selfish. The Government is useless, evidently. The council is useless too. The NHS is useless, where once it was the jewel in our crown. People are going insane, or committing suicide. Everyone has lost control because there is too much control. The scientist know all, or they know Jack Schitt, depending on your view.


The Coronavirus is a hoax. The world is being taken over by Bill Gates who is going to microchip us all and make us his slaves. Or perform a massive cull. 5G is addling our brains. We have become sheep in the face of a massive worldwide attempt to assert control on the people, to remove our freedoms, to enslave us. David Icke and his band of merry protestors know the truth. They are protesting maskless and hugging one and all.

It doesn’t matter what you actually believe, this Covid thing is exposing a nasty flaw in the character of humans.

The flaw is that, in truth, we all know Jack Schitt and recognise his whole family in ourselves, but we won’t admit it!