Sorry we need to talk to Deceased ……

Compassion needs to grow.

“Oh I am sorry to hear that.” Says the person, without a face, on the other end of the phone. “When did your husband die?”   I give all information regarding his mobile phone contract which needed to be cancelled.  “Ah but we require the Death Certificate before that can be done.” So I agree to send the info.

Months go by and still funds are being debited from my account. Another phone call. I wait for about ten minutes. “I am calling about………” “Please can we talk to Mr……..  says Ms Faceless!” If you can then I think that would be a miracle.” I inform her “I have tried since he died but alas I end up talking to myself. ” To my total amazement I am told “Unfortunately we cannot cancel a contract without consent from the person involved.”

It can be lonely out there.

Now I know I am old and perhaps my diction is not quite as good as it used to be, but I have yet to find anyone who does not understand me – in English! So I explain again exactly what I am trying to do.

Listening is a great gift

“So, you are saying that the person on the contract is dead?” “Yes he is.”  “Well how can he have a contract with us?” Ten very deep breaths later I say  “Actually when he took out the contract he was very much alive and we paid from our joint account. You have all the information I was asked to send. Please will you put me on to your supervisor -now.”  “Yes Madam please wait.” I waited and waited and then a nice young sounding gentleman came on the phone. “How can I help you Mrs….?”

Charity Duck Race

After having given my story yet again I was told very politely that I needed to talk to the Bereavement Department. I was transferred.  By this time I was in a rage which made my voice quiver! Well, the concern and quick response I got was amazing! It took exactly two minutes to cancel hubby’s mobile phone contract!

Such insensitivity is so unnecessary.  Maybe some of these large corporations should put a little more emphasis  on compassion when training?


“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop


Hats – To Wear or Not to Wear?

Which hat? Miss Marple-Hunting,Enormous or just a Granny Hat?

The other day I was invited to a Marriage Thanksgiving.  Wanting to look my best. The question was -does one wear a hat or not?

In the early Sixties I followed the love of my life from Switzerland to stay at his parents’ home in the South of England! Little did I appreciate that some people were still living in the Thirties! Before the first evening meal my host, who was also my godmother,  declared she was going to change for Dinner. Oops what do I do? Travelling light, I had only one  formal dress and a few skirts and jerseys.  I ran upstairs, tidied my hair and put on the obligatory pearls. My host came down in diamonds and a beautiful black dress.img_1916

Which colour?

Dinner was interesting. I did my best to behave properly! Also tried to comprehend the environment I had landed in! At the end of the evening  it was suggested that we go up to London  the next day. How exciting! I had not been in the Capital since 1953, a few days following the Coronation when all the decorations were still in place.

Hat Plonked on Head!

The next morning I came down wearing a little red dress,  stiletto heals, (three inches high!) pearls, gloves and umbrella as had been mandatory throughout my teenage years. My Godmother, (later to become my Mother-in-Law!) took one look at me and to my surprise asked “Where is your hat my dear gal?” Oh how I blushed with embarrassment!   I really was not used to all this formality because in Switzerland only very  old ladies wore hats during Spring and Summer.   “You cannot go to London without a hat.  Especially as we are going to Swan and Edgar for lunch with some friends of mine.” A dash upstairs to the ‘Hat Room’.  There, from a choice of over a hundred, she pulled out a hat that matched my outfit and plonked it on my head.  “That will do” Off we went.

Nothing beats simplicity!

Does it make sense that one should feel they must wear a hat? Well having lived with the guilt of not having one all those years ago I tend to wear one if in doubt!


“Never in all her life had she imagined that this idolized millinery could look, to those who paid for it, like the decorations of an insane monkey.”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman – If I Where a Man


Autumn Leaves – Village Shops

A beautiful Autumn walk

The other day when visiting friends, I offered to collect their newspapers from the village shop a mile away. It was a beautiful morning. With my ‘FitBit’ on I marched  towards my 10,000 steps for the day!

My beautiful picture
The leaves at one of my  schools in the 50’s

The Autumn colours catching the sun put a bounce in my step!  Arriving at the shop Roger, the owner,  was frantically sweeping up the leaves outside his establishment. It has a wide frontage and parking for six cars.

Within the garden next door stood a lovely oak tree shedding its leaves with every puff of wind.  As we chatted  another flurry of  gold and red dropped to be swept away. “You are onto a loser here!” I said. “Yes I am” was the grumpy reply.  “That tree is protected.  I have been here for forty years, my father before me. But now, because of ‘Health and Safety’, if anyone slipped on a leaf outside my shop I could be sued.” Oops, the wind came from another direction and everything blew all over the place.  I then suggested a leaf blower or hoover. “Look missus – it is seven o’clock in the morning and if I used anything like that the ‘Noise Police’ would be called out by the villagers.  No.  I am selling up and that will be the end of the gossip house”  With that I sealed my lips.

My beautiful picture
Another Autumn shot in the 50’s
Autumn the sunset of Summer

Oh my!  Where have we gone wrong? Everywhere one goes, people are lamenting the demise of the village shop and beautiful trees. To save both, we need to  grow up -understand the dangers of slippery leaves. Let us enjoy nature and take responsibility for ourselves. Surely that makes more sense?


“The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reason why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.”

WH Auden –  If I Could Tell You

Glamour of Old Clothes!

“If you haven’t worn it for two years, chuck it out,” is the mantra of today. Come on! What are we supposed to be doing?  “Re-Cycle” comes the instruction from governments all round the world.  All so confusing.

The other day I was invited to a luncheon party in Chelsea. Now, being a true country bumpkin these days – what does one wear to a smart London lunch?

An old favourite!

Perhaps I should shock them all? Do I  turn up in Hunters and holey jeans with a thread bare jersey? No no, that would be an insult to my dear host. So,  rummaging through my old London clothes – over twenty five years old – I find a favourite bright pink outfit.   “Yes, that’s it, I will wear that.”

Sensible and Comfy!

Now shoes – not sure my thick rubber soled, sensible and flat black patents will be correct. A further look in the utility room. There, among all the dog hairs and mouldy horse blankets, I find a pair of heels. Yep, clean those up and all will be well!

28 Years Old

The rain beat down as I drove up the motorway to find a very costly parking place! Change from old driving shoes into those heels.   Getting out of the car I see an array  of very elegant ladies walking towards my friend’s house. Beautiful umbrellas covering their stunning outfits.   Ouch!  Here comes me, overweight in a very old three piece suit!!

Skirt falls down without any warning!

As I approach the door, teetering over the cobblestones. Horror of Horrors  – skirt falls down! (I had forgotten I had lost weight since the last time it was worn!) Yes, literally to the ground. This beautiful pink crepe fell to the wet path.  By this time my face matches the colour of the outfit. Fortunately the coat, with just a few  centre buttons ,  manages to cover the top of my thighs! So I step out of  skirt, with as much aplomb as was possible. Then rolled it up ,  put it into my large shoulder bag. Honestly, there was absolutely nothing else I could do. Still red faced I enter. My host dashes up to me and  says ” You look stunning. Gosh you are so brave, at your age, to wear something so short!!” ” Where did you get that perfect outfit” was the cry all day!


Thank goodness I did not spend hours looking for another outfit in the shops to be thrown away within a couple of years.  I have never felt so glamourous.! Honestly!!

So, really, does it make sense to have a ‘clear out’ every so often? Perhaps my moth eaten favourites should go. Certainly not my well made ancient ones!

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.”  Coco Chanel