‘When the military went into the bunker to get Saddam Hussein, they found a series of Osmond albums.’
Merrill Osmond (talking to Dan Wootton on GB News, March 2022)
Now, that made me smile.
I was, actually, going to start this with the words, ‘ In this life, one must accept that there are some things which are just incomprehensible’. Think what you will. Saddam Hussein liking The Osmonds? No slight on The Osmonds – part of my DNA, for goodness sake – but Saddam Hussein?! I love it! Just one of these gems one least expects sent to brighten up a dull day …
Was it a dull day? The clocks went forward last night – Spring forward – marking the start of British summertime. Sure! Granted, the sun shone for much of the day but it was anything but warm. Regardless, lighter nights and the promise of summer. I used to love the clocks going forward, as a child. More time to play outside. More time to be free. I, also, couldn’t wait until we were told we could wear our school summer dresses! Preferable to our winter uniform of scratchy brown tweed skirts and coats, our original dresses would not have looked out of place in the 40s/50s – pastel-coloured with white collar and cuffs, buttoned to the waist and A-line skirt – but they were cotton and light and symbolic of so much more. The long summer holidays were in sight and everything just seemed so much brighter.
That never leaves you; the associations of childhood. Embedded for all time. Anyway, I can’t imagine anyone feeling negative about the clocks going forward. I do love the fact that they, now, specify exactly when that change takes place: 1am. I don’t recall that ever being the case. It was just overnight but I suppose the explanation is work-related; shift workers. Back to the incomprehension, though … How does one’s phone know? More to the point, the old timer which controls the heating and hot water? God knows – sure He does – but, quite frankly, I can’t be bothered giving it a second thought, in the same way that I shall never understand, or be given a satisfactory explanation as to why it is that one sock always disappears in the wash. Do they ever turn up? Negative, although I do maintain a growing community of individual socks, cast aside, positively abandoned while clinging to the tenuous hope that someone of the one-limbed variety may appear. Banish the thought! Whoever declared that one must wear matching socks, anyway?
Still the master of drivel … I should say that, drifting off to sleep in the early hours, I suddenly realised that I hadn’t adjusted the time on my clock/radio, nor my little alarm clock which is joined to my hip – not literally or how would I get into my jeans? Bad enough as it is … Light back on, I had to do it – change the time, that is – otherwise I would have been completely disorientated come morning. Would it have made any difference to my day? Well, yes. I might have missed an hour of Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs! It’s the little things.
Self-discipline, wherefore art thou? Instead of spending the afternoon writing, I got lost down a YouTube endless hole, hence my Merrill Osmond gem. Interestingly, I also learned that he is a Trump fan. Wouldn’t have guessed that!
‘If Donald Trump were in office today, we wouldn’t be in half the mess.’
Moreover, turns out he was involved in the production of the inauguration ceremonies for both President Reagan and his successor, President George H. W. Bush.
Wow! Merrill Osmond. Different light. My day has not been wasted.
Meanwhile, I’ve been reading Billy Connolly’s autobiography, Windswept & Interesting of late. Think I’ve mentioned that before. I knew from paragraph one that I liked him. Well, I’ve always liked him but if I needed confirmation that I should like him, then I now have it. No ghost writer for Billy, I can hear him in every word, as though he is talking just to me. A rare breed, he is definitely one of the good guys but you can see that in his eyes; the windows to his soul. Kind, and that mischievous twinkle …
He writes with honesty – and compassion. He has reason to be bitter for a childhood which was far from easy but, three quarters of the way through now, there is not a trace. His love for Glasgow and the country of his birth leaps from every page as he remembers his old friends and those who helped him along the way. His warmth is tangible, the words effortless but it is clear that humour is his strength. The ability to laugh. No greater armour.
I love his Glaswegian lilt. Reminds me of Pop. In fact, I bought the audio version of Windswept & Interesting – of which there are few – for that very reason. I planned to listen to it in the car or, perhaps, in bed but, for now, that’s a pick-me-up I shall keep in reserve. Talking of bed, I was, actually, going to write that Billy Connolly is the only one who can get me there early but … In truth, he has proved more adept at keeping me awake!
‘Another thing … people keep saying ‘Email me.’ I keep saying ‘No, I won’t!’ I don’t know how to do it. I’m not ‘computer literate’. I have no desire to be. Don’t feel sorry for me. I write with a fountain pen. I’d like your address so I can write a letter on paper and place it in an envelope to post. I don’t want your ‘dot-com-double-you-double-you’ pish.’
Can someone please fix it for Billy Connolly – Sir Billy Connolly – to rule the world?
Monday, now, and I’m about to dry my hair – and that’s newsworthy? Well, only to my self-appointed style guru, Manny, who suggested I refrain from using shampoo for a week to alleviate my wayward mop. Now, I do understand the logic – and I even tried it for a few days – but … Granted, I don’t like people and fraternising with the general public has never topped my list of past-times but there is such a thing as self-respect – and standards! Add to that, there are mirrors in this house and one does have to forage for supplies, occasionally. The drinks fridge does not fill itself!
Already, this day is not going to plan. I switched off my alarm when I switched off my light at 2.30am and I didn’t catch the dawn, as planned, but, then, some of us are just born night owls and I happen to be one of them. There is something so alluring about the early hours, when most around are asleep. It’s when I do my thinking – and often my writing. When the world is still. I’ve always said I have the body clock of Elvis just, thankfully, not his body – yet! Wonder if he used shampoo? Perhaps he took his hair off and put it on a stand over night? Apparently, too, it was blonde and he spent his forty-two years dying it black … but that’s old news and I’m going now. Apologies.
By the way – sorry – I also find the early hours to be an excellent time for spending money one doesn’t have. Two nights ago – at 2am, I might add – I booked tickets to see Judi Dench with Gyles Brandreth at the Playhouse, Edinburgh in August. An absolute must-see! Last month, it was Rod Stewart at the Castle in July, but I think I mentioned that. Knowing my luck, Sir Ian McKellen or Sir Anthony Hopkins will by playing King Lear at Stratford this summer. Better not check. On the other hand, as long as it doesn’t clash with Andrea Bocelli at the Terme di Caracalla, Rome on June 10th …
Life is short. Fill it with memories.
Let me end with the humour of the legendary Chic Murray, courtesy of Billy Connolly who credited him as his hero.
‘She opened the door in her dressing gown. I thought to myself, what a strange place to have a door.’
‘I met a cowboy once. He was wearing a brown paper hat, a brown paper waistcoat and brown paper trousers. He was wanted for rustling.’
So simple. So clever. So gentle. What happened?
This is Trish, signing off.
Newsflash! Rishi and now Humza. Welcome to Britain 2023! Whatever happened to ‘Winston’ or ‘Maggie’? Buried, along with the ‘Great’. (Too serious for an exclamation mark!)