Tag Archives: Grandchildren

ALL 6s AND 7s – ACCORDING TO WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Age 6 from Rachel Mulligan’s sequence ‘Seven Ages of Man’ stained glass roundels illustrating the life of her father Jim Mulligan, Stained Glass Museum, Ely Cathedral

On my way home from seeing the audiologist about my hearing aids, I thought about all the ‘falsies’ now available to us. I don’t have those we usually associate with the term – when I had surgery for breast cancer immediate reconstruction wasn’t on offer, but I have been fitted with some of the other prosthetic replacements hardly dreamt of when Jacques in Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ spoke of the Seven Ages of Man.

In the UK by 2018 the expectation of life for men was 79.6 and for women 83.2. In Shakespeare’s time, in the 16th century, the expectation of life for both was just under 40, given the high mortality during infancy and childbirth. At 40, I’d have thought myself in the prime of life and was just about to start my specialist training as a consultant pathologist. My final career was just about to begin.

‘The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose’

‘Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.’

I used to be lean and wish I were again. I’ve more ‘the fair round belly’ of the Justice and I only wear slippers at home – haven’t yet descended into going out in them, nor in curlers. I’ve most of my own teeth with only one false tooth – a bridge supported by a tooth on either side, and since having my cataracts removed and false lenses inserted, I no longer wear spectacles,. Also, I have a false hip after fracturing the neck of my right femur in Spain in 2000.
I’m not sure about the ‘second childishness’, though every now again, when I try to remember a word or a name, I experience the ‘mere oblivion’. But so at times so do my children and grandchildren. Immediately after my heart attack I virtually lost my sense of taste and some manual dexterity, but they’re mostly back now.
Lucky we didn’t live in Shakespeare’s time, when ‘sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything’ meant literally that!!

Lots more like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat paperback

THE FABULOUS SMELL OF FRESHLY BAKED BREAD

We slice and toast these mini loaves lightly. Yummy!!

I love the smell of freshly baked bread. When in 1943 we moved to the flat in Wentworth Dwellings that overlooked the market, every weekday morning I woke to the gorgeous aroma of baking bread from Kossoff’s bakery opposite. I now bake my own bread and rolls so I can enjoy that lovely experience regularly.

One of the advantages of having four children and four grandchildren is that I can pass on any pieces of equipment I want to upgrade, like a bread maker. My British grandson, Luke, was a willing recipient of my Panasonic bread maker, so I could in all conscience buy the latest model.

For years I had used my bread maker to make the dough and then prove and bake it in a regular long loaf tin in my normal fan oven. I always thought that the loaves that are completely finished in bread makers are too tall for us. Our appetites are not what they used to be, now Josh is 90 and I am 88, and the slices are just too big. But then Luke sent me an image of the loaf he had baked using the delay feature, so he was woken by the fantastic smell of a freshly baked loaf. I realised that I could just cut the loaf in half – eat one half and freeze the other. Works a dream!!

I still use my bread maker to make dough for rolls, which we like to have with soup. Josh and I share the cooking to fit in with our classes and it’s become a tradition for me to make soup on Thursdays. I always have a variety of rolls in the freezer, including Jamie Oliver’s Crumpies. If you like crumpets – the old fashioned type with big bubbles – his easy recipe is great, but our favourites are beetroot rolls. I got the original recipe for a beetroot loaf from a supermarket magazine but it works just as well for the rolls I bake in little loaf tins. You can’t taste the beetroot but the colour is gorgeous.

Many thanks to those who’ve contacted me to say they are going to buy my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ as a Hanukah or Christmas present

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

LITTLE WOMEN

My parents’ wedding photograph 1918. Can you see the box under the carpet where my mother is standing?

It wasn’t until my sister came to meet me at Tel Aviv airport that I realised for the first time just how short I am. There was this little woman coming towards me and, as she got nearer, I realised it was my sister Hannah. We hadn’t seen each other for ages. She’d lived on a kibbutz since the late 1940s. She came to London when I got married in 1956 and for a couple of visits afterwards. As we kissed, I realised that she was a fraction taller than me – I really had to be tiny!!

I do sometimes refer to myself jokingly as ‘a little old woman’, when I want to boast about something or other – that at 88 I’ve not lost all my marbles, for example. But my image of myself is not of a ‘5’ nothing’ old lady but of one at least 6-8” taller – until my two grandsons tower over me as they kiss me Hello or Goodbye.

I didn’t choose my best friends at school for that reason, but I realise now that they were all tiny too. This was not only due to our genes but, coming from poor families with mothers that did their best, we were probably underfed and undernourished as well. Certainly, we were all quite slender.

My mother was small too – though she seemed quite tall to me. Her wedding photographer was cunning. He put a box under the carpet where my mother stood, so the difference in height between my parents wasn’t as obvious.

Still – they do say that the best things come in small boxes. I’m afraid I have to accept that I’m small and getting smaller. But I do find myself wanting to correct the nurses at the hospital when they measure me before another test – I’m still 5’1½” not 5’ nothing I want to say!!

I thank all those lovely people who read and commented on stories like this in my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat.’

Woman in a White Coat paperback

Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

 

MY RUSSIAN GRANDMA

My grandma in clothes my mother made for her

My two older sisters and I adored our maternal grandmother. She lived with us in our cold water tenement in Wentworth Dwellings in Petticoat Lane until she died in 1937, when I was five and my sisters 11 and 17. We were broken-hearted. It took years before it stopped hurting.

There were six of us – my parents, my bubba, my two sisters and me. The flat had three rooms – a bedroom, living room and kitchen, together with a small balcony which had a coal bunker and outside toilet. My parents shared the bedroom, my sisters, my grandmother and I slept in the ‘living room’, while the tiny kitchen was where we sat around a small oilcloth-covered table, talked, read, cooked and washed at the china butler sink. There was only a cold tap, so water for washing or, when we were little for the zinc bath, was heated in a kettle on the black iron stove cum fireplace. My sisters shared a pull-out sofa while I slept with my grandmother in the large mahogany double bed that had been my parents’ until they changed to the more modern twin beds. The living room was freezing in the winter – fern-like Jack Frost etched on the windowpanes – so it was lovely curling up against my grandmother’s warm back.

The outside loo had a long heavy iron chain with a wooden pull. The noise terrified me if I had to have a pee in the night. I don’t remember how old I was when it became my task to tear my dad’s newspaper into neat squares after he’d read it cover-to-cover. He’d then force through a nail, and thread some string through to hang the bundle by. There was no question of wasting money on bought toilet paper, but even when my sisters left home, and we were a bit better off, my dad preferred his newspaper to the bought stuff my mother and I used.

My bubba was a tall commanding woman, with dark hair piled on top of her head. It would have been a sheitel – the wig orthodox married women wear over their shaved head. I never saw her without it. Her left eye was badly scarred. It had been pierrced by a shard of glass when the Cossacks came riding through her village, pillaging and looting.

My mother and grandmother came from Mogilev in Belarus. My maternal grandfather died when my mother was only 2 years old, so my grandmother scraped a living turning her tiny cottage into a lodging house. The lodgers slept on a circular shelf around the pot-bellied stove in the centre of the room and ate at the table my grandfather had made my bubba as a wedding present. My father’s parents had died long before I was born.

I’m not sure whether my grandmother could speak Russian – she always spoke Yiddish to us and we replied in English. My mother could read and write Russian, so she kept the accounts required by the authorities. They emigrated to England in about 1903 and lived on the pittance my grandmother earned selling beigels on the corner of Wentworth Street and Goulston Street. My mother was apprenticed aged eleven to a dressmaker, earning 3d a week. Once she had learned enough to be useful, her employer stopped using her as a cheap servant and paid her a small wage. However, my grandmother refused to give up her pitch until my parents got married in 1918 and moved to Old Kent Road.

My bubba always did more than her fair share of the housework. She had a stroke while cleaning the stone steps leading down to the next landing. She was dead on arrival at the London Hospital. The neighbours blamed my mother.

‘Fancy letting her clean the stairs at her age, and her half-blind,’ they said.

But there was no stopping my grandmother doing anything she’d decided on.

Woman in a White Coat paperback

Lots more stories like this  in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Mary Berry’s Orange Polenta Cake

Delicious

I can never resist Mary Berry’s new Cookbooks. There are always some new dishes I must try.

There are several recipes in her new Classic book  and it’s great to have a cake for our gluten-sensitive grandson.

This Orange Polenta Cake is delicious though i’d have been pushed to fit it into a 20cm cake tin. My 23cm springform tin was just right.

Cookery was amongst the several  Further Education classes I took after i retired as a consultant pathologist. Joyce was the best tutor by far. Not only were all her recipes tried and tested – foolproof – but I learnt how to follow and adapt recipes from all different sources.

Recipe Continue reading Mary Berry’s Orange Polenta Cake

Special Treats for the Family – Plum TrayBake

Daniels’s favourite

When my daughter, Louise, and her family come to England for the New Year, Easter and in August, I cook their favourite foods.

Daniel, as a strapping nearly 18-year old, loves desserts in general and Plum Traybake in particular. I can’t remember where the original recipe comes from but it’s one of those that work every time.

As well as Louise’s family, our elder son, Simon, and Bernard and his girlfriend, Jo, came to dinner. It was Josh’s turn to cook but I made the dessert while he cooked a vegetarian cottage pie – Bernard is a vegetarian.

And saw online that my memoir Woman in a White Coat is still selling well on Amazon. Thank you all.

Recipe for Plum Traybake Continue reading Special Treats for the Family – Plum TrayBake

Parsnip and Pecan Loaf – Waitrose magazine

Delicious cake to have with tea or coffee

 

I always like the family coming to tea or coffee so I can try out new recipes.

 

One grandson can’t tolerate dairy produce and this Parsnip and Pecan Loaf cake from Waitrose magazine has vegetable oil instead of margarine or butter.

Their recipe has a topping which contains cream cheese so I substituted chopped pecans. In any case, it’s easier to freeze any that’s left over if it doesn’t have a thick fluffy topping.

You can read about how I learned to cook at a Cookery School for debutantes when I was 5 months pregnant in Chapter 19 of my memoir Woman in a White Coat

My slightly modified recipe

Continue reading Parsnip and Pecan Loaf – Waitrose magazine

Shopping at the Ocean City Mall in Oslo, Norway

Ocean City Mall

Luckily both Josh and I enjoy shopping though living in London with John Lewis, Selfridges and Harrods a bus ride away it’s hard to find things in Europe we haven’t seen before. We always enjoy long weekends in large cities.

After my Heart Attack, now a year ago, I need to stick to countries in the European union where an EHIC card gives me free emergency NHS treatment. Although not in the EU, Norway is covered though fortunately I had no need of medical care.

Modern Art Seating

Opposite our hotel in the centre of Oslo was quite a drab-looking mall from the outside –Ocean City – but huge and futuristic on the inside.

They didn’t have the kind of little notebooks I was looking for but we managed to buy the children some gifts from the large kitchenware stores.

Fabulous shop for knitters

 

Keen knitters like our daughter, Louise, would have loved this knitters’ paradise in the shopping mall in the next street.

 

 

 

April Fool’s Day and my New Resolution

Abby age 2

My memoir Woman in a White Coat starts 85 years ago in October 1931, two years before this studio portrait was taken.

Who would have thought this serious little girl would qualify in dentistry and medicine, become an entrepreneur and end up as a consultant pathologist in a major London teaching hospital.

I was born at a time when a girl’s only future was marriage and children  – though I managed those too – married to the same loving husband for 60 years with four wonderful children and four equally wonderful grandchildren.

There are 30 days in April and my memoir presently has 29 chapters so if I edit one chapter a day my memoir will be ready to be uploaded as an e-book by the end of the month. That is my April Fool’s Day resolution.

If you email me at abby@abbyjw.com I will send you the first chapter and if you comment I will send you another. Hope to hear from you.

There’s a TIGER in St James’s Park Underground Station

Tiger shop at St James’s Park Underground
A selection of cheap goodies

I was so pleased when my husband Josh told me that the Danish Company TIGER Copenhagen had opened a store in St James’s Park Underground station – only a stone’s throw from where we live.

It is a small branch but there’s always something I don’t need but must have!!

Although our daughter Louise’s children are now going on for 20 and 17 we still like to buy them silly little things when they come to visit and there’s always something that takes my fancy in TIGER.