Denial.  Six letters denoting, at once, the guise of self-protection or a festering wound.  Most of us practise denial, of sorts, in our everyday lives as a coping mechanism.  Perhaps it is easier to bury one’s head rather than face reality and what lies in the future?  Perhaps that lottery ticket will come up trumps rendering any worry about money futile?  Perhaps all these cruel things said in hurt and anger were justified?  Perhaps the person who caused all the hurt (and is continuing to do so) is still recognisable as the person he used to be – or that someone so desperately wants him to be?  Perhaps it is just easier to lash out at those who will be there to pick up the pieces regardless?  Whatever.  A virtual safety net it may be but, in sticking a plaster over an open wound, one runs the risk of it festering.  Without the courage to face reality, sadly the reality does not disappear; rather, the struggle to suppress the inevitable only serves to manifest further problems like a poison seeping into other aspects of one’s life.  Not a plan, then!  Instead, in the words of Lady Macbeth as she attempts to rally her husband to murder Duncan:

‘But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail.’

Macbeth (Act 1, sc. 7), William Shakespeare.

I have had cause to contemplate the whole subject of denial recently and a lot of things made sense after noticing the 1998 film, Hope Floats, was on the other evening.  Starring Sandra Bullock, it is a story which begins with cheating and betrayal but becomes one of self-discovery, understanding and new found happiness.  Perhaps, at first glance, an innocuous little feel-good film, it is so much more dealing with low self-worth rooted in childhood and the raw relationship between mother and daughter with a hurt borne out of misunderstanding and the inability to show love.  Said daughter (Birdee, played by Sandra Bullock) has a young daughter of her own who is unable to reconcile the fact that her Daddy is not who she wants or needs him to be, thus directing all her anger at her mother whom she blames for his leaving … until the heartrending scene when he discards her as though an unnecessary hindrance and she is forced to face the truth.  Denial over, let the healing begin!  It is a lovely film full of hope, as the title suggests, and one I saw at the cinema over twenty years ago when it first came out.  I highly recommend it and the soundrack is superb, so much so that I ordered it all the way from America at the time.  Always was a little bit country …

This has been some week!  Enjoyable?  No.  Complicated?  Yes.  Not one iota of de-cluttering or packing up has taken place and, quite frankly, I’ve grown tired of the begging. The fridge has been depleted in the blink of an eye and the washing machine has adopted its incessant mode.   I even found myself at the gym yesterday – don’t ever say I don’t aim to please.  Overcoming that overwhelming sinking feeling as I was faced with regimented machines and lycra, I endured the best part of an hour in motion setting the treadmill, cross-trainer and bike to level 6, regardless, before turning to resistance – no, that was futile as was the contraption I chose to fight against in a bid to tone my arms.  Turns out I must have misread the instruction to all but dislocate one’s shoulder!  Ah, well, having successfully burnt off several hundred calories we, then, hiked up to the bus stop – requiring many more – and risked further life and limb on public transport.  Stress demands allaying and, thus, having broken into a cold sweat whilst undergoing the self-enforced decision-making necessary in the purchase of a laptop – albeit by one who decries the very existence of technology – the evening ended with several small glasses.  How else were we to replenish the calories expended earlier in the day?  Thankfully, the pain I am now enduring in my right shoulder had not kicked in at this point and no straw was required.  You see, always able to find the positive!

What can I say about my new laptop other than it doesn’t like me!  Still oblivious to most of the functions of my iphone – and forever struggling with the touch screen – it does not bode well.  However, I had little choice but to invest to progress and with my new website in creation as I write, my life is heading in a different direction requiring of a mobile office, as it were.  The romantic notion of bringing one’s thoughts and words to life anywhere and everywhere is quite liberating, the reality being that I have no idea how to connect to or download this, that or the other and God knows what the password for my email is!  You see, life seems to be all about passwords these days – which, one is told, should not be written down for security reasons – but failure to remember said word or phrase causes no end of heartache as one is forced to acknowledge the truth: namely that one’s once photographic memory has succumbed to the passing of time and Not a Chance in Hell exceeds the character limit!

It is quite fun thinking of titles for the different pages of the forthcoming Trish-Trash website but the lines of communication between myself and the web designer remain slightly at odds as Shirin uses Dropbox and I use the phone!  No one said it was going to be easy.  There is a colour palette to be agreed upon, images and a font to be chosen and all this with the vain expectation that I will have any clue how to use and update said website.  Should I be successful, however, there is no end to the possibilities enabling me to post daily spreading my characteristic joy and good cheer …  Am I appearing at the Festival?  Private joke.  Meanwhile, has grown legs and for that, I can assure you, we are all very grateful, if not a little bemused.  Maybe there is more to being a Patrician after all.

Manny, now back from London, brought with him visitation rights and his friends appeared, one by one, to catch up.  One forgets the shorthand which has developed over the years ensuring a friendship which extends to us all.  I promised Dylan I would mention him and the laughter we shared on Sunday as, observant as ever, he caught up on photos and my quotes stuck on the fridge door.  As I said, photographs were a subject of discussion as I endeavour to print years’ worth from my phone and camera with a view to putting them in albums as I did in days of old.  So precious are these albums that I used to leave them all with neighbours when we went on holiday in case the house went on fire!  Anyway, suffice to say, according to Dylan photographs ‘just take up space‘ and, having travelled the world for a year taking 35,000 of them, he seemingly takes pride in the fact that he has not printed one!

He did come across photographs of Becca and I on our visit to Christies in London to see the Audrey Hepburn Exhibition in 2017.  Armed with several bags in one particular shot, Dylan enquired as to their content.  Replying that it was just a catalogue – a very special one costing £45 – he joked that we should have bought two and then laughed as I said, ‘We did!’  Funny thing was, he would have been disappointed if we hadn’t, straying from character.

There is nothing surpasses the comfort of old friends.  Sometimes, however, when it comes to Manny’s, I forget the intervening years only to be pulled up, gently, as though a well-meaning eccentric just short of the home!  ‘Don’t you remember that, Dylan?’, I ask, referring to some programme in the early 80s.  ‘Well, I was born in ’92, Trish!’, came the reply.  Don’t be ridiculous!  I am still struggling with the concept of people being born in the 70s …

‘Some moments will stay with me forever but not one would I choose to forget.’

Sir Billy Connolly, Tracks Across America (2016).

This is Trish, signing off.