I’ve had a few-but then again-too few to mention-

                Regret is an interesting emotion. As you get older you might be forgiven for having accumulated a net full of regrets that you’ve trawled along behind you all your life. But then the net would get heavier and more onerous to haul in with time. Better to release the captive disappointments somehow and allow them to drift away.

                Of course some regrets are entirely trivial, and the wrong decision can be rectified in a short time. Ill-advised haircuts, that last glass of wine, holidays with family members, vitriolic emails-the repercussions of all of these do not last for long. Last week I regretted my lack of speed in capturing a pine marten crossing the road with a limp stoat dangling from his jaws! More serious decisions like career choices, partners, buying a home can be a source of regret for ever.

                Twenty years ago I made a momentous [for me], life changing decision that had a profound and lasting effect. At the time someone very close warned me I would regret this decision the whole of my life, and yet I have always considered this one choice to be the very best decision I ever made. Sometimes you just have to take a leap into the unknown, take a gamble-and then accept the consequences, whatever.

                Amongst the circulating emails and Facebook spam that floods on to our screens there is often a set of images of historic products-items you might have used as a child. There is a fleeting, misty nostalgia to these pictures, prompting you to say, ‘Whatever happened to ‘Spangles’, or ‘Do you remember ‘Loxene’ shampoo?’-but we don’t seriously want to turn back the clock. ‘Loxene’ shampoo was little better than washing up liquid, and if ‘Spangles’ still tasted good they’d still be on sale-as Mars bars are today.

                I don’t doubt that some aspects of life were better fifty years ago, like children playing outside, not getting obese, less cars on the road etc. But who would want to go back to that time? There were no machines to do all the dirty work. My mother had a ‘copper’ that she boiled the washing in and then put it all through a mangle! I don’t think we had a fridge for some years. There was a cold slab in the pantry and a ‘meat safe’ like a cage to keep flies off.

                So I believe it’s ok to wallow in a touch of nostalgia now and again, but better on the whole to look forwards, live life to the most full you can and do the ‘carpe diem’ thing. Then one day, [if I should live long enough to be immobile or even more demented than I am already] I shall be able to look at photos and dwell on memories with nostalgia but without regret-that is if I am able to recognise anyone or anything by then!

Who do they think we are?


                Whilst only eight percent of the world’s population uses Facebook, apparently more than half of people in the UK are users. For such a large number of subscribers, it sure does elicit a lot of complaints. Hardly a day goes by without someone posting an angst-ridden message about breaches of privacy or dire warnings of the intimate photos of yourself you posted from a Costa Brava nightclub when you participated in a wet T-shirt competition getting sold on to cynical bra manufacturers’ websites.

                As a digital dinosaur, it did take me some time to work out the privacy settings; also to figure out that I could ‘switch off’ the deluge of spam that showered down upon my page like effluent after ‘liking’ something [in order to get the proverbial, ‘too-good-to-be-true’ offer for something I do not want].

                Then there are the adverts. Manufacturers and companies allegedly use your search history to target their adverts at you, supposedly knowing you better than you know yourself! You would expect, then that the ads down the right hand side of your homepage would be for the very things you know you want and need.

                In the interests of research I have conducted a minor and extremely unscientific study on the subject of my personal ads, to find out exactly what I am like, according to the advertisers. I found the results hilarious.

1. I am a crisp eater.



The last time I bought crisps, other than those posh ones you buy for pre-dinner for guests, was when my children took packed lunches to school; about fifteen years ago-ish.

2. I am a pet owner.



About twenty years ago I was reluctantly persuaded by my then small daughter to get a hamster. It was vicious, slept all day, then ran away underneath the boiler and got burned [which did nothing to soften its character]. Much as I like other people’s animals I am not, nor have I ever been tempted to own one.

3.I am a teacher.



No. I used to be a teacher.

4. I wear this sort of shoe [what and teach?]



Stilletto wearing is not an activity I’ve mastered, much to my husband’s disappointment. Wellington boots, hiking shoes, trainers and trail sandals are more my style, [although I’ll cope with a low wedge if I have to do a wedding].

5. My holidays of choice are cruises.



Now this is something they’ve got badly wrong. I have never at any time made any kind of overtures towards cruise companies. The thought of willingly becoming incarcerated in a floating prison with fellow inmates I have not selected, getting stuffed full of food and having to watch glitter-clad cabaret entertainers has never appealed. We holiday in a tiny camper van. Bliss!

6. I am a Bingo player.





7. I wish to make a claim for mis-sold PPI.



No, no, no, no, no. how many more times? No!

8. I am on the way out.



They have one bit correct. But a funeral is not, actually on my list of activities to do in retirement. Do they know something I don’t, perhaps?

There are more; ‘grandchildren’s clothing’, ‘cutting belly fat’, ‘betting’,’skiing’, ‘wrinkly eyes’. But in a way, I do find it oddly reassuring that they’ve got it all so wrong. How much more spooky and disquieting it would be if they pushed the things I really do want. What are they? Not telling!