Radwinter 3…

I’m playing about with my story of the Radwinter family, trying different scenes, not quite knowing where I’m going with it, only the vaguest of route-maps! In this part, the youngest of the Radwinter brothers, Thomas has agreed to help his brother Paul and fiancée Ruthie find out more about the family tree and in this ‘scene’ Ruthie has sent Thomas to talk to a woman about the family. It is not revealed exactly what the connection is between this woman and the family, nor what Thomas is going to ask her… whatever it is doesn’t get asked and Thomas receives a dreadful shock!

My nose is so sore, my whole face aches; they said it isn’t broken but I can’t breathe because it’s so swollen and my teeth feel numb. I never got into fights at school but I did get hit occasionally because I was fat.

When he thumped me I felt a mixture of shock, pain embarrassment and indignation.

I’d knocked on the door, feeling, I admit, slightly nervous, but Ruthie had briefed me well so I thought I knew what I was going to say.

I’d rung up and arranged to come, checked I knew where the house was, just outside Little Oak, and parked in a little pull-in just past the front gates.

It was a wide gate, like a farm-gate with a metal fastening that looped over the gate post. The front garden was beautiful, neat and well-kept. There was a wide gravel drive leading to a double garage at the side with a bright red Cherokee Jeep parked in front of it.

The garden itself was laid out with stone chips of different colours and brick-paved paths between the beds. There were huge ceramic pots full of colourful flowers but I couldn’t say what they were, only that they made the garden look opulent and well-maintained.

The house was large and old and the windows were open through which I could hear music playing, Michael Bublé or some such easy listening girlie music.

I rang the bell, then rang again. I couldn’t hear anything so maybe it was broken so I rapped on the door with my knuckles several times. Apart from the music there was no sound from within, and if the Jeep hadn’t been parked there with its pink pom-poms dangling from the mirror, and if the windows hadn’t been open I would have left.

It was a lovely day and I felt rather hot in my suit and I wondered whether to take my jacket off.

Perhaps she was in the garden, perhaps sitting on a patio with a cool drink. There was a path which led along the front of the house, past the open windows. I knocked one more time, waited a few moments then followed the path round the side of the house.

I had guessed right; there was a patio with elegant wrought iron table and chairs. Beyond it was an area of decking with a couple of loungers and on one of the loungers was a woman. She lay there with sunglasses on and absolutely nothing else. She was stark naked.

I must have stood there for several seconds, no doubt with my mouth dropped open, gawping as Rachel would say. I couldn’t help but stare, it was such a surprise and she was… well, she was gorgeous. She was tanned all over, blond, but slim and shapely.

I felt sweat on my forehead under my fringe prickling along my eyebrows. She made no sign she saw me, her eyes hidden behind her shades.

I spun round to hurry away and bumped straight into a huge angry man.

“You dirty bastard!” and without giving me a moment to explain he punched me straight in the face. I reeled back and staggered against the wall, my hands over my nose, blood already trickling between my fingers. I don’t know what I said, muted indignation, protests of innocence in the face of this man’s bellowing outrage. I fleetingly thought of trying to explain or retaliate but he was so big and so angry.

He grabbed me by the shoulders and I thought he was going to head-butt me and I somehow managed to pull back and tear myself out of his grasp to stumble back round to the front of the house, expecting a kick or a shove at any second.

I got the gate between us and stood for a moment panting. He hadn’t pursued me but stood on the front doorstep, hands on his hips, glaring at. I contemplated calling out something, that I’d call the police, that I was sorry, that I’d made an arrangement…

He threw back his head and roared with laughter, and embarrassed now and in pain I got back in my car, wiped my bloody hands on my trousers and drove away.

One thought was in my mind. The woman had turned her head and silently and expressionlessly had watched the man and me.

I’m back on the Wii

Several years ago, probably about four I decided I had to get fitter and hoped that by doing so I would also lose some weight, especially if I tried to diet at the same time! I used to be very sporty, as a child I cycled everywhere including 4 miles to school and back every day, and I was also a club swimmer, training every day and swimming between 30-40 miles every week. There was also the other training, weights and circuits for swimming, plus sport at school, hockey and netball in the winter, rounders and tennis in the summer; plus a couple of years where I spent all the summer and much other time canoeing on the river. So as a child, well, young woman, I was pretty fit. Going away to do my degree was the end of my sporting activities; I was a ta Poly and I don’t think there were any sports clubs… maybe there were, but certainly not the number of different activities available now to students. I still walked a lot… but I also did a lot of other things which weren’t exactly healthy, on a limited budget and with a lot of studying to do, late nights, and evenings in the pub… well, you get the picture.

As an adult I didn’t do that much exercise, I played squash for a couple of years but I was hopeless and there is only a certain amount of being soundly beaten that I could take! I did Tai Chi for a couple of years and loved it and benefited from it… I took up rowing, but much as I wanted to be good at it, I was hopeless!

So when a couple of years ago I wanted to improve my fitness I couldn’t think of what I could do; strangely, after living my young life in a swimming pool, swimming now bored me. I am no good at racquet sports, no good at running, too old for judo or karate or such, I don’t like aerobics, I know I wouldn’t stick at going to a gym…. I’d bought the children a Wii for Christmas and had a few goes on it… and then began to take it seriously.

I went on the Wii every day for about two years, worked really hard and lost nearly 3 stone… and was much fitter! Then various other things happened and I lost the routine… and the weight crept back on… not that much, only about 10 pounds, but I feel less fit, and I want to lose that weight again, and a bit more!

So… I am back on the Wii, and even after a week I feel the difference! I’m not aiming to lose weight quickly, just steadily, and if it is only a pound or two a fortnight, then that will be fine!

https://loiselden.com/2012/12/30/wii/

The Mavericks – once more with feeling!

The Mavericks play gigs all over the place, mostly in the States but in many other countries too so I’ve read a lot of reviews, yes, really a lot of reviews about them at gigs I can’t attend and also, thanks to the internet, music reviews from across the world.

The following review from the Sydney Morning Herald is really excellent, not only because it gives an idea of the band, but offers a snapshot of their history and a flavour of their music – if that is possible in words rather than just listening to them.

Here is a snippet:

There are some fairly standard reasons for a band to re-form: nostalgia, unfinished business, revenge, money … actually, mainly money. But in the case of the Mavericks, the sharp-dressed, Nashville-based neo-country revivalists, it was a song that reunited the band and that will bring them to Australia for the first time. Raul Malo, the Mavericks’ elegantly goateed singer, was in a Nashville studio with songwriters Gary Nicholson and Seth Walker when they played him a song under development named Back in Your Arms Again. Malo had just finished touring his sixth solo album, 2010’s Saints and Sinners, and was considering his next move. To Malo, whose silky, yearning voice echoes Roy Orbison, Back in Your Arms Again felt hauntingly familiar; in fact, it felt very much like a Mavericks song. At the same time, Malo’s management had started to field calls about a group reunion. Now that’s odd, the singer thought to himself. The Mavericks had split in 2004, with Malo admitting he felt ”bored, exhausted, done” with the band that had claimed a Grammy, generated a million-selling album in 1994’s What a Crying Shame, and an unlikely hit, 1998’s Dance the Night Away. Now people were talking about a reunion?

The Mavericks have reunited and are stronger and better than ever, and their first ‘new’ album is probably their best ever. My favourite song is ‘Call Me When You get To Heaven. Here is what the review says:

”I wanted the song to take on a sort of Ravel’s Bolero-type tension,” he says, ”where it builds to this uncontrollable climax, sheer joy and desire and pain. That was the thought behind the arrangement and the song in general.” The only trouble with Call Me is that the band was so drained by its creation in the studio that they haven’t even tried playing it live. They’d have nothing left, Malo says. They would be spent. Someone would have to carry them off-stage. ”I just couldn’t sing any more. Which made me think, live, where do you play it? How do you play it?”

If you want to know more about why I think that song is so special have a look here: https://loiselden.com/2013/02/24/call-me-when-you-get-to-heaven/

…and finally, if you want to read the whole review from the Sydney Morning Herald, here is the link:

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/once-more-with-feeling-20130822-2sc7x.html#ixzz2dXRmGarI

PS I have spent many busy hours trawling the archives of the Sydney Morning Herald as part of my family history research … I think this is the first time I’ve read a current copy!

 

 

Otter Amber

We are lucky enough to have the excellent Otter Brewery supplying our beer at the best pub in the world, The Dolphin. We went on a most interesting trip to the brewery earlier this year and had the chance to sample a variety of their wonderful beers. We had an excellent time, and I discovered that I actually do like lager…. as long as it is Tarka lager, brewed by Otter!

We went to the pub this evening and to our delight and surprise, as well as Otter Ale which is the regular brew, there was also Otter Amber available… well, we had to try it, it would be rude not to!

This is what the brewery say about it:

Otter Amber (ABV 4.0%)

Otter Amber was first brewed for the trade in March 2009 as a mid gravity beer to complete the Otter range. Over the last 10 years the ‘mid gravity’ beer has become popular with drinkers, delivering a reasonable strength with great flavour. This gave us the opportunity to develop a really special beer, which within a month of its launch, won its first award in Newton Abbot at SIBA’s prestigious Tuckers Maltings beer festival. Otter Amber has all the qualities of other Otter beers but with a more complex mix of aroma and flavour.

http://www.otterbrewery.com/otter_amber.php

The flavour was fantastic… it reminded me a little of Timothy Taylor, The Landlord, but unlike Taylor’s it had a bitterness and a long flavour and a more complex layer of different flavours, bitter and lovely! One pint was really not enough, nor two…!

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https://loiselden.com/2013/05/03/otter-ale-the-brewery-trip/

Beowulf

On the day I heard of the death of Seamus Heaney, I came across this news report about Beowulf:

Beowulf Beats Beast

The Danes were celebrating last night as the coragous Beowulf boasted about his great success with the dreaded Grendal.

As Grendal limped away into the swamp, Henning Halfbeard commented: “It’s a great day for Denmark! I didn’t actually see the fight, but my cousin told me that Beowulf was fearless as he attacked the monster with his might sword.”

Another witness who wishes to remain anonymous said that beowulf threw away his sword, and fought Grendal’s mother with his bare hands.

Rumour has it that Beowulf found an antique sword said to belong the the Old Giants; and killed Grendal’s mother before beheading her son.

Hrothgar is expecting Beowulf home soon, and hopes to display Grendal’s head in Hereot.

Article continues on Page 5

by our correspondent M. A. E.-S.

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Seamus Heaney

I was very sorry to learn of the death of Seamus Heaney which was announced today.

A few miles from here
a frost-stiffened wood waits and keeps watch
above a mere; the overhanging bank
is a maze of tree-roots mirrored in its surface.
At night there, something uncanny happens:
the water burns. And the mere bottom
has never been sounded by the sons of men.
On its bank, the heather-stepper halts:
the hart in flight from pursuing hounds
will turn to face them with firm-set horns
and die in the wood rather than dive
beneath its surface. That is no good place.

from ‘Beowulf’