Posted by: Valerie | June 19, 2012

Blogia says it’s time!

Blogia, the muse of uncontrolled ramblings, has been whispering in my ear for some time but I have been ignoring her as I’ve been having too much fun getting my garden in shape for summer. There was no opportunity for gardening last year as we were preparing for our move. Almost a year already since we moved in.

Anyway, Blogia just won’t shut up so here goes. I am unsure what she wants me to blog about but no doubt she’ll come up with something if I just keep typing.

There you go – typing. Typewriters, or tripewriters as they may otherwise be known, have been part of my life for a very, very long time. I remember my father telling me to take a typing course at school as it “would always be useful”. I refused as I didn’t see my future including working in a typing pool (anyone younger than 50 even know what one is?) or even aspiring to the dizzy heights of becoming a secretary. I wasn’t going to take orders from anyone! I still don’t. Always had a problem with authority figures unless they are me.

So I got myself a job as a sub-editor and script writer in a company that had typing pools and everything I wrote, I wrote by hand. Four years of journalistic drudgery and I took a break, working as a house slave (au pair) in Bonn, West Germany. To supplement the incredibly stingy stipend of nine Deutschmarks a month – yes, a month! – I started to freelance scripts back to my old company in Scotland. This meant typing and the only machine at my disposal was a very old typewriter with a German lay-out keyboard. Of course I learned to type by the hunt and peck method.

Indeed it was useful. Six months of slavery left me with a working knowledge of German which would serve absolutely no useful purpose in my life or career (except for watching old war movies with Joe and pointing out where the subtitles don’t match the words spoken), a taste for continental food and a decent sense of independence which led me back to Scotland to gather some cash together by serving tables for a few weeks and set off to London with £67.00 in my pocket. I was 21.

I had £3 left when I actually got a job on a magazine with a Fleet Street address. The interview process involved me being shut in a room with a stack of paper – and guess, what – a typewriter – to create a story from scratch. No memory of what the story might have been but I got the job.

From that day on, I was never without one and for years I functioned with a little Olivetti portable that served me well and produced many scripts. It wrote me out of debt numerous times. Then along came computers with their keyboards. I love them too but I am still looking for a real old machine – one with silver rings around the keys. I don’t know what I would do with it and it would take up space I really don’t have, but dammit, I want one! If I ever do find one, I will very likely remove a couple of keys to make some earrings to match the wonderful bracelet that Joe bought for my birthday in the Distillery District in Toronto.

What a delightful place that is. The whole area remains as it was in the days of the working distilleries long since gone but the interiors are restored with galleries, eclectic little boutiques, coffee shops, bakeries and the like. Just the kind of place we both love to potter around. In some ways it reminded me of the old warehouses in Savannah, Georgia which have been restored in a similar fashion.

Ah, that sets me off thinking about getting on the move again. We haven’t any solid plans for a holiday this year but we will no doubt park the cat and pile into the car and take off. But in which direction? I favour east as it’s a long time since we’ve been near the ocean. Roaming around Nova Scotia and PEI would be most pleasant. We may even wait until early September to go as it’s less crowded then.

There is a move afoot within the Winsor family for a reunion next year. It will be my 70th (aaarrrggghhh!) birthday next year and would have been our father’s 100th except for him being dead this last eight years. Whether we five sibs can all arrange to be in one place at the same time is questionable to say the least but maybe it can be done. Four of us are at least on the North America continent and one in England. Sue and I are rather in favour of Vancouver Island where none of us lives but Joe thinks Bancroft would be a fine place to have it!

The other big excitement will be the arrival in November of a baby girl, a sister for Deklin. She is already named – Dahlia – but she may get called Broccoli as when Angela told the wee lad there was a baby in her tummy, Deklin shook his head and insisted it was only broccoli. He’s very excited though but is having a hard time understanding that she has to grow before she is born.

Conversation: “We’re going to have a little brother or sister for you, Deklin.”

Response: “TONIGHT?”

We haven’t seen the little guy for some time so it’s time for someone to take a trip. Either us to Ottawa or the family to us.  Deklin will be three next month.

L’il ol’ Bancroft has been providing us with events and general goings-on to enjoy lately. The annual Relay For Life was an excellent and well-planned event recently. There were local bands a-playing, particpants’ tents lined the park venue and there were various entertainments including a hot air balloon. The first lap of the relay consisted of local cancer survivors and there were many, many. Very moving also were the lights that edged the entire track, each one in memory of someone who died of cancer. There were very, very many of those. Joe and I both considered adding one each for our lost spouses but for some reason we didn’t. The relay lasted all night with the bands playing all the way – to which we can attest as we don’t live too far from the park. The whole thing raised over $108,000. Not bad for a town of 3,500.

We have come late to the realization that our town now has an occasional film club which takes place at the local theatre (theatre as in drama, not movies). We happened to catch the last movie of the season before tourist time. It was The Affair, the silent movie that won all the accolades earlier this year. Marvellous and all the other superlatives one can think of. And I am quite in love with the French lead whose name I can’t quite remember.

If you happen to follow the news from Britain, you will see that my youngest brother, Tom, is in the news big-time and is much hated by the Police Federation. They’d better look out as it almost certain that he will be confirmed as the new Chief Inspector of the Constabulary. No, he’s not a cop – he’s a lawyer. It’s a long story and I won’t go into it all here. There is actually an anti-Winsor Facebook site and a YouTube post. My son Richard says (humorously, I trust) that he is thinking of joining the FB site as he clearly remembers his Uncle Tom trying to persuade him to jump off a 12’ wall when he (Richard)  was about seven. My twin brothers are only eight years older than my eldest.

I think Blogia has done her bit for now. It’s stinky hot here – over 40 degrees with the humidity – and we are guzzling strawberry flavoured iced green tea. Quite nice really.



  1. Out of everything you have written the first thing that jumps to mind is “I never knew you spoke German!” All very interesting and I remember when we first met and you told me that you had worked on Fleet Street –all very intimidating to a girl from Middlesbrough-the town voted the worst place to live in the UK. You certainly can write.

    • I do enjoy writing. One day I may get my act together and write something more substantial.

  2. Val, I enjoyed your blog very much. I too was very struck with the French lead in The Artist. He had the most endearing smile I’ve ever seen.

    • Thanks Elizabeth. It’s very rewarding to know that someone enjoys my ramblings.

  3. Lovely to learn more about you Val. I’m with you on the old typewriter, mum bought when years ago for some reason and I remember typing on it, one of those big old black Olivettis. Might try and find one, it can sit on top of my old singer sewing machine! I took typing for about 6 weeks at school. I was hopeless! Computer keypads are so much easier for touch typing.

    Love the photo of Joe and his truck :o)

  4. Love the comments by Deklin! Since they seem to be going with a “D” theme, what about a vegetable that starts with D? The only one I can think of is Daikon (radish). Maybe Dandelion. But Dahlia works as it is a flower, I suppose.

    I seriously wonder how “excited” kids are by a new rival in the family. Not ‘arrival’ but rival – competition for attention. But it is normal and human nature.

    • Excited is true before the event. The concept is rival is not known yet. We’ll see what happens when the rival arrives! I think I’m going to call the baby Daisy!

  5. I love names like Daisy. Suggested it to Rachel who told me it is in the US associated with some character from redneck country and some things called Daisy Dukes. A shame how TV has ruined perfectly acceptable names.

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