Jaqui's Daily Blog

Gathering Material - or Downright Eavesdropping?

I have to confess that, since starting my Daily Blog in June 2012, I have turned into a Bit of a Snooper.

 

Writers would doubtless call it “gathering material” but I am afraid what this actually entails is quite shameless eavesdropping.  You see, finding something to write about, each and every day, for the enjoyment of you, my loyal readers, can sometimes be a challenge. Some days it is easy, especially when Mr B is in fine form, or the grandchildren come to visit, or we are off on an outing somewhere special. Often, however, I am relying on a conversation overheard, an off-chance remark, a funny or sad happening to shape that day’s Daily Blog. In other words, eavesdropping.

 

Some experts say that bloggers should draw up Excel spreadsheets, incorporating their next two months' worth of blog themes. This may well make sense but I am far too busy getting on with my life – this life that I am committing to my on-line diary, aka the Daily Blog - to sit around creating Excel spreadsheets. The Daily Blog simply doesn’t work like that.

 

I don’t set out to eavesdrop, honestly I don’t. At lunchtime today, for example, I was sitting in the Visitors Room at the West Sussex County Archives drinking coffee and eating a rather tasteless egg and cress sandwich which I bought at Tesco Express on my way from the railway station to the Records Office. I am wishing I had made a slight detour to Marks & Spencer whose egg and cress sandwiches on malted bread are far superior to the one I am valiantly munching my way through.  

 

I am not consciously eavesdropping. In fact I am thinking about Mr and Mrs Peregrine nesting atop Chichester Cathedral, as I had earlier paid a visit to the RSPB tent in the Cloisters Cafe gardens to see what’s occurring at the moment. It turns out that we have a brand new couple of peregrine falcons this year which, sadly, suggests that the Grand Old Lady who has been nesting in the lofty spires for many a year has gone to meet her Maker.  I would like to think that it is one of her many off-spring who has taken over the Family Residence but lovely Anne from the RSPB tells me that this is not the case – these are two complete newcomers. Mrs P had three males vying for her attention; I can’t imagine what it must be like to have so many admirers, not (I say hastily) that Mr B isn’t enough for any gal. I say that I hope she has chosen wisely but it seems this isn’t the way of things in the World of Birds. Rather the three males fought it out for her favours – and a place in her nest – and the Bully Boy among the three has won through. I do hope he will be good to her and that he will keep her well fed as she sits on her four eggs and awaits their eventual hatching.

 

The words of my two companions in the Visitors Room suddenly permeate my consciousness. They are here to register a relative’s death and they are discussing the Wake which will follow the funeral.  Should they opt for a drink and a biscuit? Sounds a bit mean, they agree. Or Afternoon Tea – what does that actually consist of, they ask each other.  Or, perhaps, a Finger Buffet? One of the two chaps suggests a sit down two course meal at £15 a head. His companion is quick to disagree – not on account of the cost, you understand, but because he says a sit-down meal inevitably means that you might get stuck sitting next to relatives you really don’t want to talk to. The thought of having to make polite conversation with Auntie Aggie or Uncle Hubert (I have made this bit up) was clearly so traumatic that both men were veering towards Afternoon Tea, despite neither of them exactly knowing what they would be serving up to family and friends gathering to celebrate the life of the Dear Departed. It was at this point that the Registrar appeared to invite them into her office so I will never, ever know what was decided. Instead I disposed of the remains of my Unappetising Sandwich in the bin provided and went back into the Search Room to continue my research on the Great War Project. This is the thing about eavesdropping – you rarely hear the end of the story.

 

I remember one particular Wake, following the funeral of a dear, much-loved uncle.  So much did I enjoy meeting up with family members whom I hadn’t seen for years that I said goodbye to the grieving widow with the wholly inappropriate words: “Thank you so much, I’ve had a lovely time!”

 

I really, really hope nobody was eavesdropping...

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Latest comments

26.10 | 14:21

Mmm, was it because there were '24 men kicking a ball' that it didn't end entirely satisfactorily???

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15.10 | 11:13

I don't remember seeing this first time round.... but thank you for sharing with me. You write beautifully, and brought a tear to my eyes. Lots of love xx

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10.10 | 21:37

Jaqui I think your grandchildren are very lucky. You have spurred me on to write a letter to Amelia who like Hazel is away from home for the first time. 💕

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03.07 | 22:43

Wouldn't have missed it for the world. xx

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