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Blog 80 - In Memory

Colette Pepino……I have no idea who this designer is. I am wearing one of her scarves today. I imagine she must be probably French or Italian, but who knows? I think she must have a gentle nature as the long scarf is very delicate, of finest chiffon silk, double layers, the borders separated by drawn thread work. It is the palest peach with a pattern of roses, probably more suitable for summer, so let’s fast forward to sunshine and warm weather. It was a sunny day when I bought it, not in France or Italy, but North Chingford, Essex bordering on Epping Forest. I was visiting one of my oldest friends Norma who bravely pushed her trolley to tour the local shops with me. Due to my own temporary walking disability with my fractured foot, I appreciate her effort. I also bought a bangle that day, brown plastic which looked like tortoiseshell studded with tiny gold bees. Little did I know that many years later I would be writing blogs under the name busybeehazell! She has since died but wearing this scarf has brought back happy memories of my youth. As teenagers, she introduced me to my husband, her friend since childhood, and in return she met my friend Bob whom she later married. Introductions were at a Saturday night hop at the Roebuck Hotel where Mrs. Mills was playing the piano, as yet an unknown. Later she rivalled Winifred Atwell’s Five Finger Boogie and became a TV personality. Norma and I were godparents to each other’s children, and Bob our Best Man. All happy stuff. This blog is dedicated in memory of departed friends and I feel the best way to do that is to remember the fun times. It is not sad. Gordon, my blind friend, now commemorated by a goldfish in my garden pool, was nearly killed by me. We were having a jolly supper, laughing a lot with very flushed faces……saved by a granddaughter on her return ….the flame on the gas cooker had blown out and we were slowly being sent silly by fumes. Then there was Brian, my dear lawyer friend, who must have been most embarrassed when I took him as my guest to a Lucien Freud art exhibition, not realising I was confronting him with somewhat vulgar sexual images. I had not done my homework before choosing this as our cultural outing. We did laugh about it over lunch afterwards. I may buy another goldfish to commemorate him. Next week, I shall say goodbye during an online funeral service to yet another friend, Greta. I will remember an amazing holiday with our four young daughters, all aged below ten, which we spent together in Portugal. The Algarve was a very different place in the Sixties. The local peasant farmers were still driving carts and donkeys; the policeman who stopped us for a driving offence had poor shoes with worn flapping rubber soles. We thought he probably wanted a cash fine on the spot to buy a new pair. Greta and I had an agreement she would do the driving and I would attempt to learn some Portuguese to see us through the holiday. No idea if she actually committed an offence but my language skills were inadequate to talk our way out of a fine. In these days, the cost of living to foreigners was cheap and the fine was not large. I hope ‘o policial’ improved his footwear. It was such a carefree time for us. Husbands back in UK, having left us with the car, each family in adjoining villas with maids whom we never saw. I had no wristwatch for three weeks. Arose when awake, went to sleep when tired. Walked from villas to beach with children, who were matched in age, over vineyards, scrumping on grapes (sorry farmer!) My girls liked a dessert called Angel Delight and I had brought several packets from home. These were made up in the morning and left in fridge. Mysteriously, someone in our absence was dipping a finger to sample this foreign pudding. Again, I feel guilty at how we solved this mystery. We added some Ajax cream cleaner to the chocolate peppermint mixture, or was it strawberry? Again evidence of an inquisitive finger. The Angel Delight was never touched again. We never saw the maid, but left a good tip. I got my punishment in Albufeira market place. At noon exactly I got the fright of my life when I heard the loudest noise imaginable. Little did I know there is a warning blast from the Fire Station at twelve o’clock to alert the three hour lunch break. The market place was quickly deserted. The blind beggar still sat by the terracotta pots. I bent over to examine the artisan saucers on the ground, costing only a few pennies. I had already bought a casserole earlier in the morning but was having a second look. A hand grabbed my bottom. The beggar was not so blind after all! Still not knowing what the siren was all about and feeling somewhat molested, decided to leave any more pottery purchases for another day. I didn’t have enough Portuguese to tell the beggar what I thought of him. Greta and I laughed a lot. So, back to Colette Pepino and her scarf. No clues whatsoever about her. What I have learned is that there is a fruit called pepino, originally found in South America but now cultivated in California. It grows on a shrub, and tastes like honeydew melon. In fact the fruit is known as pepino melon and is appreciated for its blood pressure lowering properties. I had a scare last weekend over my BP and have had to amend my diet and lifestyle. I may get bored with flax seeds and reduced ‘blue light time’ before bedtime and search for this unusual fruit. What say my Californian readers?

Busy Bee, Scarf Face!

Series 2, Blog 80.

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