In the words of the late, inimitable Rikki Fulton, ‘It’s been a helluva week’!  Firstly, I had £300,000 stolen from me.  Well, when I say stolen from me, I mean that it should have rightly been mine!  You see, occasionally, there are competitions which just must be entered and ITV were giving away said amount.  Somebody has to win and, this time, I was convinced it was me.  Karma.  Good guys must win sometime, surely?  Regular readers will remember that I had my chance of seeing the Eagles cruelly stolen from me at the end of last year.  Playing on my favourite ever date – April 11th – in San Francisco, Zoe dialled the wrong number and gave my tickets to somebody else!  The fact that, in the end, the concert never took place, obviously, is of little consolation …

Perhaps I should check the four lottery tickets in the Bowl of Hope.  Several years ago, on one of her trips to London, Becca and Gabby ended up in some pottery place where you can choose an item and decorate it any which way.  On her return, Becca brought with her a lovely bowl which would not be out of place in Anta.  The girl done well!  Inside around the rim, however, was the inscription, Bowl of Hope.  A therapist’s dream!  I was very grateful for my gift which, from then on, sat in the kitchen as a receptacle for lottery tickets purchased – and continues to do so, here, much to Becca’s annoyance.  Why don’t I check said tickets?  Easy.  I prefer to live in hope!

True to my word, as the year crashes on towards Christmas, we cling to the thought of St Wolfgang: the lake and snow-capped mountains with the beautiful, painted houses nestling below; the little streets strewn with fairy lights and traditional Austrian embellishment, mugs of Gluhwein and our friends, Benno and Sepp.  The perfect antidote to a world, seemingly, on a road ruin, it is our perfect escape … or was!  Monday night and I happened to change the channel to News at Ten.  More of the same, no doubt, but, hang on a minute!  That lake looks familiar.  I recognise these mountains.  These palomino ponies pulling the carriage down … that’s St Wolfgang!  No mistake.  There has been a spike of cases in this little Austrian village with fifty or so hotel staff testing positive.  Just why?  Admittedly, the Weisses Rössl is a world-renowned hotel, welcoming guests from all corners of the globe but this is Austria not Spain!  Of all the gin joints in all the world …  Bright side.  It is only the end of July.  Christmas is still a few months off.  I reiterate, good guys must win sometime, surely?  Yes, yes, Pop, I hear your favourite line, the last word, seven letters, beginning with ‘b’ and ending in ‘d’ with a large exclamation mark!

What else?  I delivered my car to the local garage for a service on Monday.  Seventeen years old, it is an extension of me.  You can take my house but don’t touch my car!  Friday, now, I had heard nothing and so it was, with dread, that I picked up the phone.  Good news, it was still there, only requiring of an oil and filter change – mechanical hat on.  Oh, what about all the leaks and the advisories on the last MOT?  Is it safe to drive?  Apparently so but David, then, went on to liken it, in human terms, to ‘a slow death’!  Please, no.  Put it this way, ‘it’s the equivalent of a 68 year-old man (steady!) who is a smoker’.  Excellent!  You know that feeling when you collect your car from the garage and it is all fixed?  A distant memory.

Life’s about to get good?  Maybe for you, Shania, but things aren’t going so swimmingly here!  We paid a visit to Edinburgh yesterday for various appointments including the hygienist.  I told you it had been ‘a helluva week’!  Of course, the weather was dismal, grey and foggy followed by torrential rain.  As we drove through, Art Garfunkel happened to be the chosen one on Radio 2, Tracks of My Years, and I was reminded of when Manny and I went to see him in concert at the Usher Hall, a few years ago.  Art Garfunkel!  Lucky enough to get two returns in Row B, I was beyond excited at the prospect of seeing the legend that is, and Manny happened to be going through his Simon & Garfunkel period, too, so perfect timing.  In all seriousness, pinch yourself stuff!  There he was, dressed as he always was in the seventies – jeans, white shirt and waistcoat – but without the  trademark hair.  I suppose he must be in his seventies but the voice remained and I shut my eyes as he sang The Boxer, Sound of Silence and Bridge Over Troubled Water.  Wow!  He didn’t really chat between songs preferring, rather, to read poetry alluding to these halcyon days.  The quintessential artist, I wasn’t sure that I warmed to him but I did appreciate we were in the presence of greatness.  Sadly, he didn’t sing one of my favourite songs everDisney Girls.  On his late Seventies solo album, Breakaway, it is a beautiful song with a poignancy which evokes summers gone.  If you haven’t heard it, google it.  Definitely in my top ten.  Yes, I know, it keeps changing but that happens to be my prerogative!

Art Garfunkel.  Grateful to have seen him but, now, whenever I hear his name or any of his records, two words come to mind: No Photos.  As he left the Usher Hall, there was a small gathering hoping to garner a coveted autograph.  His car appeared and, as it approached the barrier, he requested that the driver stop and he got out – and in!  The minute he spied the inevitable phones in the air, he was furious, declaring ‘No photos!’ as he got back into the car and drove off.  How ridiculous!  We laughed but it’s actually quite sad to think that this amazing talent, possessing of the most incredible voice, is so self-conscious about his looks.  Prepared to sign his name, only, it would seem he wishes his image to remain frozen in time.  So it is that I have that image on the fridge door captioned with the date and his parting words.

We did make it to Edinburgh and endured the rain and, me, the hygienist.  It’s a different city now, though, and I feel it has moved on to a new era leaving mine behind.  People-watching in George Street, those that passed belonged to Wetherspoons or Tiger Lily.  A microcosm of life.  Whighams remains and the West Room is small and civilised but the Edinburgh of old is hanging by a thread.   Time to let go?  Perhaps I already have.

We don’t know where we get our ideas from.  What we do know is that we do not get them from our laptops.’    John Cleese.

All my own work, then.  Apologies!

This is Trish, signing off.