When is it ok to stop counting the years?

I SPENT a morning cutting back and removing weeds and other sorts of vegetation from my parents’ and great-grandparents’ graves. It would have been my parents’ 75th wedding anniversary that day. But does this actually have any meaning? When do we stop recording ‘would have been’ birthdays and anniversaries? There are Birthday Memories notices in local newspapers, with families remembering somebody’s birthday, often decades after that person’s death. Why do we do this? Does it help to keep their memory alive? But memory is malleable; how we remember, changes; what we remember, alters.

Group therapy

I HAVE joined two Facebook groups, for people who like to discuss books they have read and films they have seen. So far, I have written about two books and two films. I can see me doing more of this, with other groups dedicated to the things I have been writing about on this blog. Perhaps, eventually, these groups will replace the blog; in the meantime, I’m toying with the idea of changing the name of the blog (if I can summon up the energy to make all the alterations that seem to be required for something apparently so simple.) The working title is It’s A Retired Life; I am undecided about an exclamation mark.

Awkward relationship

I HAVE started a new photographic project. The Gower Peninsula, just west of Swansea, was the UK’s first designated Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty. My Gower Churches project will try to look at how some of the peninsula’s oldest buildings fit into that landscape. It has got off to a less than promising start; the first church was wedged between a hotel and a modern house; the second was on a busy road junction.

Never on a Sunday

RETURNING to the first topic in this post, last Saturday would have been my mother’s 97th birthday. We put yellow roses on her grave. The next day, we went to the cinema to see the latest Tom Cruise film. My mother was probably turning in her grave at the thought of her boy going to the pictures on a Sunday.

Out of harmony

CHATTING with the other retired blokes after our regular morning swim, I discover that Posh John (He Went To Boarding School) is teaching himself to play the piano, using tutorials on YouTube. This sparks shared reminiscences about schoolboy piano lessons. Dave The Photos recalled his relief when his lessons came to a sudden end after six months, when his teacher unexpectedly died. I recall my teacher, who was the village vicar’s wife, advising my mother that she stop wasting her money on piano lessons, and buy me a new football instead.

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