Well, that was a hectic weekend!  Come Friday evening, I realised I hadn’t sent a Birthday card – and the customary ‘winning’ EuroMillions ticket – to my old friend, Caroline whose big day was today.  Consequently, I had to get to the Post Office by 12.15pm on Saturday.  Look, for someone who has grown accustomed to living, for the most part, without deadlines, that was no mean feat.  I should have washed my hair and, at least, changed out of my jammy top but …  I drove into town and saw real people!  Did I like seeing real people?  Quite honestly, the answer is ‘no’.  Then, again, most would expect that from me in normal times …

Eternal lockdown has meant that Joe Public converges on open spaces – and, sadly, that includes my beach!  Funnily enough, it wasn’t the same the first time; during imprisonment number one.  It may have been spring/summer, with the benefit of the most gorgeous weather, but, still, it was never busy.  Admittedly, I used to go when the sun was sinking but, at most, there would be a handful of my species, including my ‘golfer’ – well, that was until I decided to ‘stalk’ him, one evening.  Remember?  Best not.  Suffice to say, there seems to have been a population explosion and the sands are awash with people.  Solution?  Simple.  Walk in the dark!  Amazing how the white crests of the waves create a semblance of light – or maybe it’s just that my eyes grow accustomed to the lack of.  Whichever, yesterday evening, I was the last living person on the West Sands, as I trod the narrow path not yet engulfed by the sea.  It was perfect.  Bidding farewell to Pop, I climbed back up through the dunes towards my solitary car.  Solitary as opposed to lonely.  My car has always sought its own space, going to great lengths to park at a distance from others.  We’ve been together a long time!

I sense I have lost the plot a little, here.  It has been one of those vacuous days when I seem to have achieved very little.  It is so hard to muster the motivation when the road is unending; no bumps, no corners, no view, just straight … and bland; no highs, no lows, no nothing.  Back to Desperado!  I just hope there is a rainbow above me.

Music.  Where would we be without music?  I have never before relied on the radio quite so much, Sundays being my particular favourite.  I adore Michael Ball, his warmth and kindness emanating from my bedside – do I need to add, not literally?!  He just has ‘it’– and me convinced that he is my friend.  Funny, self-deprecating – I think he would be, too, if I ever met him!  Of course, sometimes it’s better not to meet the famous for whom one has, naturally, created a persona – although, having said that, I can’t think of any one of them who has disappointed …  Perhaps, David Cassidy?  I have written, before, about that infamous occasion when, after his concert in the Edinburgh Playhouse in 1985, we met him in the bar of the Dragonara.  Suffice to say, barely taller than me – 5’4 and a half inches, that being – he was wearing a pink jumpsuit, make up, carrying a large glass of brandy in one hand and a big fat cigar in the other!  David Cassidy!  He, also, had the most piercing eyes which were a little disconcerting and contributed to the fact that I was rendered speechless.  Seriously!  Keith Partridge in the flesh; the voice on all these singles I used to play, endlessly, in my bedroom on my precious red record player as I honed my obvious singing  ‘talent’ of the future …  You see, I’m off again!  Too much time to think; to reminisce.  Anyway, he was disappointingly starry – perhaps, he was just shy – and the conversation?  None.  That being said, that concert will forever remain one of the best – if not, the best I have ever been to.  Singing every one of his hits – Partridge Family, too – he was absolutely superb as the audience reclaimed the Seventies and childhood days.  David Cassidy’s life was so sad but his voice is instantly recognisable and, still, very special to me.

Any others?  Well, I’m still waiting for James Martin to call, however many years later, after Manny dared me – in a queue of traffic – to run forward, knock on his car window and give him my number.  The fun we had with that!  Then, there was Art Garfunkel, who stopped to sign autographs on his departure from the Usher Hall.  Imagine having Art Garfunkel‘s autograph, for goodness sake …  Well, still imagining as he all but self-combusted when somebody, uninvited, took a photo on his phone! 

Music.  Sunday radio.  Sounds of the Seventies …  I mentioned that in my upcoming book, more of which I have written in the past few days, I might add.  My agent (Manny!), however, was quick to suggest I remove said reference as it invokes the present rather than the past.  He’s right but, would you believe, it’s still there!

Manny.  I can always rely on him to read my musings, promptly, offering feedback and encouragement.  His sister, on the other hand …  words fail me!  Weeks behind, she claims she has no time to read my posts – and you wouldn’t when, sufficiently addicted to online shopping, you are capable of doing it in your sleep!  My protest that each post requires minutes to read led to her reply that she spends too long looking at a screen so could I print them?  Of course!  I printed all of two which started life in her bedroom, were, subsequently, buried, and can, now, be found moving round the sitting room.  Has she read them?  ‘I’ve started but I haven’t finished.’  Unbelievable!  One would think I had written the sequel to War and Peace.

Actually, it takes me back to the days I spent reading Mummy’s book, all these years ago.  She became quite enthused about tracing her family tree which, in turn, led her embark on an autobiography, of sorts.  Acquiring a word processor – advanced technology, back in the day – her memoir became her passion as she spent every spare moment at her table in the dining room, recording the lives of her family, past and present.  She used to print the latest pages, as she wrote, sending them to each of her children for encouragement – or judgement.  Occasionally, I would fall behind but, suffice to say, I felt so bad that, on one of our holidays to Glen Tanar – would be in the late 90s – I took the whole draft with me which I proceeded to read, every morning, by the loch.  A more idyllic setting one could not find – plus it gave me a break from two young children and a dog!  Meantime, had my brother and sister read it?  Of course, not!  Nor did they have any intention of doing so, at this point.  When, eventually, my mother went to great expense to have several copies printed, however, my brother insisted she re-write certain parts, omitting any reference to his first wife.  Apparently, her name could be counted 17 times!!  Phoning me for advice as to what she should do, I told her she must do no such thing, never mind the added expense.  She was merely documenting fact.  She did, though – do as he demanded – and it was re-printed.  Somehow, it lost its authenticity, for me …

Her memoir – two bound copies of which are sitting in the book case, given to Becca and Manny – is as unique as its author.  Full of character, it is so easy to read and a tribute to her writing – sadly, in which, she never believed.  However, ownership of the past is unique to the individual and much of the life in my years is portrayed rather differently to the way in which I remember it …  The author’s prerogative, after all.

I wrote the truth as though no-one would read it.’

Alexandra Fuller

This is Trish, signing off.