Lisa and Edwina For Dinner At the House, 31 January 2015

We have known Lisa Opie for many years now. We were introduced to her when she was at college studying towards her osteopathy qualification. Lisa is a top notch healer; a superb masseuse as well as (now) an osteopath. Janie and I still see her regularly. Occasionally Janie and Lisa do CPD courses together.

Anyway, Lisa was keen for us to meet (Janie and I were also keen to meet) Lisa’s (then) latest, Edwina, so we invited the two of them over for dinner.

It was a very pleasant evening. Edwina picked my brains a bit on business and economic matters, presumably having had The Price of Fish (available at all good bookshops and e-book stores) put her way by Lisa.

Janie and I both remember this evening well, but cannot recall what Janie cooked for the main course. Something meaty, we are pretty sure. Janie does recall making a rice pudding for desert. Janie’s rice pudding is always good news.



Islands by Caroline Horton, Bush Theatre, 24 January 2015

We thought this play and its production were just awful.

I seem to recall that it ran straight through without an interval; had there been an interval we would not have returned for the second half of this one. Perhaps there was and we didn’t. The whole experience was so bad we’ve mostly blotted it from our minds.

The subject matter – tax havens and the greed of the super rich – is fair game for theatre. But this was like a really bad copy of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi style with almost no substance – opportunities missed.

If you want to know more about the production, the Bush has a decent stub on it – click here.

I could go on, but I won’t.


Jilly Black’s 50th Party, 18 January 2015

Jilly inferred informality but some semblance of dress sense in her invitation, which was a non-electronic thing that came through the post in October but is now gone – hence my inability to state exactly where the party took place…

…update!! Jilly has subsequently sent me a copy of the invitation and some photos, so here is the invitation with the venue details, while I have subtly redacted Jilly’s personal contact details with a picture of Jilly:

I responded in October by e-mail:


I think your invitation infers that we’d need to be out of our minds to say yes, but we are quite crazy so we are coming to your party anyway.

Many thanks for inviting us and looking forward to seeing you on the day.

Lots of love

Ian (& pp Janie)

PS I’ll need to invest in a pair of gardening jeans in order genuinely to abstain from coming to the party in same.

Here is Jilly’s response to my response. I should make clear that I am not Jilly’s uncle, but Jilly has called me uncle pretty much since I met her, when I was about 16 and she was about 14:

Dear Uncle,

I was fairly confident you were mad enough to come when inviting you, so really glad I didn’t get that completely wrong, and that you are indeed coming. Excellent news.

You could also just wear any pear of jeans but sit in a muddy field in them beforehand (there are a few close to the hall) if you wanted that kind of look, but could you just let the mud dry before you arrive?


Look forward to seeing you.

Me xxx

Janie and I ended up sitting at table with several BBYO alumni, not least Sue Jacobs (Simon Jacob’s sister), who sat next to us and was excellent company. We talked cricket a lot, not least because one of Sue’s daughters is very keen. We also sat with some other people we hadn’t met before, who were also very good company. One or two of those people I think we had sort-of met before at one of Jilly’s house parties, but we got to know them better this time.

I’m sure Janie isn’t normally out of focus – she must have been violently agreeing with Sue, nodding her head at great speed…
…Sue, by contrast, looking very focused…
…while Jilly looks very happy, as well she should have done, hosting such a super party. Many thanks to Jilly for these pictures

It was also good to see Jilly’s sister Caroline (known to me as Frog) again. Also Jilly’s mum, who sadly has dementia now but is able to disguise it for a while.

It was less than a fortnight since my mum died and only a few days after the funeral, but actually it wouldn’t have occurred to me to miss this party. Indeed, from my point of view it proved to be a real tonic and Jilly seemed to be having a wonderful time with so many of her good friends around her in one go. It was a really jolly event, held in a rather quaint village hall, with a very informal atmosphere and lots of nice people.

Update: Jilly has now kindly added details, such as exactly where the party was held, otherwise that type of detail might easily have got lost in the mists of Ogbloggy-foggy-time.

Jilly is also questioning some of my above details, such as exactly how old we must have been when we first met, but that is subject matter for further discussion and future Ogblog postings!

Mum’s Funeral, South London Crematorium/Streatham Park Cemetery, 15 January 2015

In the orthodox Jewish tradition, the funeral takes place very rapidly after death. But mum and dad had opted out of the orthodox way and had planned to be cremated. Hence the 10 day interval between mum’s demise and her funeral.

The funeral took place at South London Crematorium/Streatham Park Cemetery at 16:00 that day. The funeral was officiated by the Streatham Liberal Synagogue’s Rabbi, Janet Darley.

As for dad, I wrote and read a eulogy which I shall upload here, with any other artefacts I think worthy of retention, such as the music playlist, when I go through the relevant papers in the fullness of time.

We, family and friends retreated to Nightingale for a reception, the centrepiece of which was the cafe cheesecake which made mum so happy during those last few years of her life.

Come to think of it; if there is one thing I do miss about that whole period it is that wonderful cheesecake.

The Chronicles of Kalki by Aditi Brennan Kapil, Gate Theatre, 9 January 2015

Janie and I went to see this play/production during the hiatus between mum’s death and the funeral. Mum would have wanted us to go ahead with the theatre visit, that’s for sure.

I remember the show being quite magical and fun. Not deep and profound; but a modern telling/adaptation of Indian mythology. It was a good evening at the theatre.

The Gate Theatre has preserved an excellent resource on this production – click here. Why there seems to be an inverse relationship between the ability of arts organisations to put up excellent archive resources on the web compared with their size and scale is a discussion for elsewhere.

Perhaps if we had been more in the mood for challenging theatre we’d have felt more critical too – as it was, Janie and I both enjoyed the escapism of it and some good acting by a young, talented cast.

I think I served up a splendid Big Al pasta dish and salad when we got home, but really my memories of that week are all a bit blurry.

Mum’s Death, 5 January 2015

Janie and I had visited the day before and suspected that mum was fading.

Angela Broad visited on the Monday, allowing me to try and get back into work. She called me late afternoon to let me know that mum looked very weak indeed – significant change even in the last 24 hours.

So it didn’t come as a surprise to me (although these things are always a shock) when the hospital called about 10:00 pm and broke the news to me that mum had died.

After sorting out the formalities over the next couple of days, I made the following posting on Facebook:

I also felt the hospital treated the whole matter with great care, compassion and professionalism, so I also (a few days later) published the following open letter of thanks to the hospital staff:

Those two Facebook postings pretty much sum up my thoughts at the time, really.

Allen Jones RA, Royal Academy, 1 January 2015

We were having a pretty shitty Christmas break, with mum in hospital since just before Crimble (and, as it turned out, never to come out). Our main respite had been some reasonable weather that at least enabled us to play tennis in the mornings, as reported on Facebook at the time – see below:

At the end of that long weekend (the Sunday I think) we went to the Park Royal Vue to see Paddington- click here for the IMDb resource on that movie. Janie warned me that I would probably blub at the scene where Paddington loses his old uncle and moves on from his family – she was right as usual.

Still, lots of laughs and fun in Paddington. I loved the way that there was a calypso band on every street corner in this version of Notting Hill, in contrast with the ubiquitously pale look of the neighbourhood in the eponymous movie.

Yet we craved some high culture and had been eyeing up the Allen Jones as high on our list for the holiday season, so we took some respite on New Year’s Day and went to see the Allen Jones in the afternoon.

The excellent Royal Academy resource with videos, pictures and information can be accessed by clicking here.

We really enjoyed this exhibition. Allen Jones’s work is colourful, accessible, fun, sometimes shocking…it was just the ticket for us that day.

Nuff said.