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As Time Goes By: Into The 21st Century

Eileen Perrin brings her life story up to date.

To read earlier episodes please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/as_time_goes_by/

The year 2008 was uneventful as far as we were concerned but in that year Cathy went to South America on her own.

Cathy travelled alone but joined a group when she got to Lima in Peru. On the first day just after arrival on the coach from the airport her bag was stolen with her new camera so she had to buy another.

Facing the discomforts in breathing, she climbed up the tracks in the Andes to see Machu Pichu the ancient Inca site, and later went to Lake Titicaca.

She wanted to see where her father, who had been born in Iquique in Chile, had been brought up, when at the age of five his mother brought him to England. A doctor in Lima had recommended his need for a hernia operation to be done in Great Ormond Street hospital in London. His mother brought him home and lived for a time with her in-laws until his father could join them after his contract as accountant and paymaster at the Sierra de Pasco copper and silver mines was finished.
When Cathy returned home, all the old 1920’s photos from South Amerca were brought out.

On April 26th 2009 our grand daughter Tara took part in the London Marathon and completed the 26 mile course and given the medal.

As housework had become a bit too much for me, we decided in May to employ a lady cleaner, one who had been ‘doing’ for one of our neighbours for at least fifteen years, so we were lucky she agreed to take us on, and she began her weekly two-hour visits. Her name was Gloria and she was from Colombia in South America.

We had taken on an Irish gardener named Declan: this was a good help. He cut down an old white lilac tree and kept the garden looking tidy. In August he jet-washed our crazy-paved front garden and the back paved patio.

At this time we were attending a fortnightly session at Hatch End with the U3A’s afternoon classes of ‘Music Halls to Musicals’ with many enjoyable interludes from old films.

In mid-summer Cathy and her partner Chris drove us to Bembridge in the Isle of Wight for a holiday and Val joined us mid-week for a couple of days. We were able to see many of the towns like Newport where we visited a boat museum and the Art Centre, and to Yarmouth where we lunched in the pier cafe right next door to the disembarking point of the cross-Solent ferries plying between Yarmouth and Lymington in Hampshire.

Cathy and two of her girls – Jo and Liz – did a charity run round Hyde Park in September for the Antony Nolan Cancer Trust.

The next year in June 2010 , again they drove us to Somerset, to holiday at a Warner’s hotel in the manor house at Cricket St.Thomas where the television series ‘To the Manor Born’ starring Penelope Keith was filmed. The grounds there were extensive and in them were the remains of a wild life park with some meercats and deer.

For a few years now I had been sending in fortnightly contributions to Open Writing based on my autobiography.
This appeared on line for anyone to find and read.
One of my earlier pieces was on my school days in Highbury Hill High School in Islington, north London. A former pupil happened to read this and got in touch with me asking me if I would like to go to the school reunion.

It was sad that I did not go to the reunion due to the distance to travel by car and aware that my Meniere’s trouble with dizziness might catch up with me at an awkward moment.
Then came a request that if I would write a piece about the school at the time I was there, in the thirties, it could be read out. So, I reworked a section already submitted to Open Writing, describing the events and the teachers I had known.
Afterwards I heard from one ‘old girl’ that it had gone very well and the affair had lasted several hours.

July 10th 2010 brought our 65th Blue Sapphire wedding anniversary with a card of congratulations from her majesty the Queen. We should have had a big celebration party but unfortunately age and health was against that idea.

Our youngest grandchild Rowland Parr, Cathy’s only boy among her three girls became twenty-three in October and on his birthday flew out from Heathrow to Hong Kong on the way to Sydney, Australia. With him was his university friend Demetri, who had achieved a Masters degree in Music.

Rowland had a job with Snergy and found a job for Demetri. With the help of Demetri’s uncle in Sydney, who gave the boys quite a few pieces of unwanted furniture to start them off, they moved into an unfurnished flat, and they continued to thrive in the sunshine, and Rowland soon became ‘one of the family’.
Months later in November on Remembrance Sunday while watching the T.V.’s British Legion production from the Royal Albert Hall and seeing the great space filled with representatives of all the armed forces from Army, Navy and Air Force, and with the Red Cross, the St. John Ambulance, many nurses, war widows, Chelsea pensioners and the Merchant Navy, I recalled being there, in that same Albert Hall, back in 1942.

At the end of the evening gathering, I watched again the showers of poppy petals dropping from the vast ceiling of the Hall on to the silent ranks below. Very moving as ever.
We had a heavy fall of snow on December 14th which fortunately had cleared off the roads by the time we drove to Dry Drayton for Christmas with Val and Anne Marie, but elsewhere up north things were badly disrupted.


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