Saturday, 15 April 2017

Dichotomy

Before I wander off to other spheres, I feel compelled to add one more 'Commonplace' to the ones in the previous post and to elaborate on another. The latter first:  there were so many words around choclate that I lost the will to choose so it ended up reading just like stuff from my 'bucket list' without quotes, academically annoying. . The addition comes from one of the many cat-related books you won't be surprised to hear that I have been given over so many feline-worshipping years "All around the world people are enduring great discomfort in order not to disturb the cat."  A Commonplace collection is without end but I do think it is time to return to the main theme which should still be the dichotomy between chronological age and the age of the spirit.

I suppose there is a variation, now, though.  It has to be more to do with the on-going consistency of the age of my inner world alongside the knowledge that both that and the outer world are earmarked to come to a predicted end in due course.  It should go without saying that there will be an end for us all: it does feel a bit different, though, to have been told when that is likely to turn up - as in toes, if you believe the old saw. There are amusing side issues.  Dear friends involved in the planning of a wedding are facing problems of numbers. There are separated parents and steps and the young all to consider for a small venue and I hesitated to say that I could be left out of any problematic arithmetic since it was towards the end of this year. I am daring the appliances in my kitchen and laundry to break down.  I have no intention of replacing anything expensive at this stage.  There is a sense of relief in letting go of certain domestic duties.  After all, this and that in disrepair will either have to be dealt with by the young or represent a not too serious lowering of a potential selling price. It is too late to respond to the advertisements for Life Insurance although the television is always urging me to buy this or that scheme to " save my family from excessive funeral costs". I never notice these ads other than in the afternoons.  Does the advertising world consider it is only young children and Mothers, making up the afternoon audience, who would want to subscribe to such schemes? I struggle to make order in a tsunami of paper and have already consigned one huge black rubbish bag to the brazier of another friend. Would it be fairer to leave behind three tonnes of out of date documents instead of five? I confess I came across papers relating to a car I havent owned for twenty years. Go figure as I am told they say over the Pond. The trees of the neighbour who wouldnt let me pay to have them lowered so that the summer sun would not leave my garden at 2.45 because " where was the benefit to (him)?" are coming in to leaf. Potentially one less irritation to be endured.  Bore da

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Commonplace

First, I should explain the break in transmission.  This technophobe, in process of writing a post looked up to see that what I had typed was now on the screen in letters two inches high.  If I could touch-type I might have caught it earlier but I was rarely looking at the screen  Anyway, after a couple of weeks of despair - no Guru: too busy - I started to click on this, that and the other and finally discovered how to change the font to one that made more sense.  I have no idea which of the clicks-on brought this about so couldn't do it again no matter what size the Wizard  were to send next time, That having been explained, to business.

A week or so ago a friend lent me a Commonplace Book.  In case one or other of you has not had the pleasure of perusing such a volume let me tell you that it is a collection of sayings, poems and other wordy, audio or pictorial memorabilia thought to be worth anthologising by she/he who subsequently does so  It seemed like a pleasing end-of-term occupation so I thought I'd think of a few for myself. I am not sure I can attribute them all so I am hoping I shan't be at risk of a charge of plagiarism - a heinous fault in my book. About left-over food "Put it in the freezer until you don't feel guilty about throwing it out". (Cousin)  On a  very small 't' shirt "Keep calm and ask Mum".  "The co-operation of factors which are random and fortuitous varies in inverse ratio to the urgency of the need". (A lawyer friend and yours truly.  Eg There are numerous taxis rolling by except when you are late and it is raining chats et chiens).  "Do not despair for Johnny head-in-air, He sleeps as sound as Johnny underground.  Fetch out no shroud for Johnny in the cloud and keep your tears for him in after years.  Better by far for Johnny the bright star to keep your head and see his children fed" ( John Pudney's war poem)  ."Mae Hen wlad fy Nhadau etc"  (Welsh National Anthem). "When with rosy feet the dawn...." (Handel's Theodora)  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in any shape or form. A voice and presence to make you believe in ultimate alrightness. "Opitimism, as in: A box of three bath-sized, hand-made soap given to she of the terminal illness.   In response to being called "An angel-faced darling" a small child asking if her pet were a "cat-faced darling".  Otherwise known as the cherishable clarity and innocence of the very young.....D.V.   Edith Piaf. "Une |Chambre a Louer" if you have to choose. Music, music, music ad infinitum.  Hope expressed by the French 'suite a la prochaine'.   And,finally - for now-  as goes without saying,, CHOCOLATE (Yours truly)
Bore da  P.S. Piaf's song is actually called "Les Amants D'un Jour"

Friday, 17 March 2017

More Holes

It won't surprise you that I rather enjoyed thinking about what should fall through the hole in my final bucket.  So here goes with some more.

 14)  Cold food, eg salad, on a hot plate with hot food. 15) Ant and Dec. (For those of you spared the joys of UK entertainment these are two men of no obvious talent, all bow-ties and toothy grins for whom I discern no particular purpose but who were actually chosen to host a TV programme about our heir to the throne).  16) Donald Trump   17) Plastic packaging.  This morning it took me nine minutes to extract a new tooth brush head from its enclosure and two minutes to clean my teeth.  18) People who make assumprions about Psychotherapists, disparaging and far too generalised. For example, psychotherapists/analysts are all mad.  Well, that may be so but at least the madness is put to good use. 19) Donald Trump  20) Hair dyed to a colour that doesn't go with the skin nor the age of the dyer.  21)  Messages left on the telephone that are so garbled they require multiple hearings and still don't make sense.  And if they include a number to call back at least two digits will be so muffled as to make the process quite untenable.  22) Icing sugar sprinkled over a pudding that is already sweet. 23) Parking tickets  24) Neighbours slamming doors at 1am.  Indeed, currently, neighbours in any shape or form.  But that's another story.  24) Automatic cars that continue to move even though you havent got your foot on the throttle  25) Dripping taps   26) Jackets of mens' suits that don't go below the backside, in spite of the appeal of some of the backsides  27) Loss of trust, as in, for example, being made use of in some way without one's prior knowledge nor consent.  28) Steep staircases  29) Runny eggs.  30) Donald Trump.  Bore da

Friday, 10 March 2017

Bucket holes

It is quite normal, as I have been given to understand, to make a list of things to acomplish in the last paragraph of one's life. You will realise, of course, that this is the affectionately named "Bucket List".  I have been thinking about this and realised I have left it a bit late physically to do the things that might have gone in to my Bucket.  However, I have made the discovery that in this unique Bucket there is a hole.  A pile of things will, thus, unwanted, have disappeared in to the void.

Things- dropped- through-the-hole-in- my-Bucket list ( in no particular order):   1) Potatoes which are not fully cooked.  I have never understood why a raw carrot is delicious while a par-boiled potato is an abomination  2) The habit of television providers of minimising the cast list at the end of a play or film in order to 'trail' another forthcoming programme. You can hear my teeth grind all the way to the laptop to look up the cast list, full size, via a search engine. 3) the use of a plural where a singular is called for as in " one in four have...whatever. 4) Bayonet light bulbs that won't screw in to the fitting together with 'daylight' spiral bulbs which give a ghastly white light or light which is insufficient even to light my thoughts . 5)  The Wizard of Cyberspace: naturally.  6) The feeling of being left out/not wanted.  7)  Full price parking fines when I have never received the first notice which allows you to settle for half the price. 8) The strip at the bottom of my laptop which is the private province of the Wizard who regularly uses it to wipe out an entire, finished piece of work which can't be found anywhere on earth nor in cyberspace even though I have 'saved' religiously all the way along..I have resorted to placing a glass cube engraved with a small cat on the space in the hope it will train my wrists to keep the H..l off. (Note to self: if the cat were black would that make me the Witch of Cyberspace?)   9) Umbrellas which blow inside out in the wind.  How can we go to the moon but not keep shelter over our heads in a storm? 10) Over-ripe bananas  11) "I'll ring you tomorrow"  which turns out to be euphemistic for ' one of these days'.  12) A dish in a restaurant described in its full glory which has, however, neglected to advertise it contains chilli. That would make it its partial glory, of course. 13) A relay of music on the radio which neglects to tell you who the players were -  see 2) above.  The dropped out pile is beginning to look endless and may well keep me occupied in frivolous musing until the time comes when my foot will, perforce, encounter the rim of my holey bucket. Prynhawn da

Friday, 3 March 2017

Subterranea

It seems the unconscious pays little or no heed to the physical.  At least, mine doesn't and is busy with business as usual while the outside of me is getting used to the change/threat? to my life's circumstances .For instance, before I retired I was supervised by an analyst who had been a world-class cricketer.  I was telling a friend about a visit he made to see me and reported that I had been "bowled over" by his kindness in coming.

 In addition, I rather suspect The Wizard of Cyberspace of collusion with my inner world. I managed to send an email to one of the consultants engaged in my care to the wrong email address. The result of this mistake was that I missed an appointment with him.  Fortunately, the date has been reset and I have confided it to someone close to me as surety against messing up again. As it happens, I had cause to be grateful for my instincts, both as a hoarder and in avoiding interaction with the Wizard as much as I can. I was still in a stew about using the wrong address and had still to uncover the right one. I looked on the Specialist's web site and under several Search Engine headings all to no avail.  I then had the idea that I might find an old email from him and be able to use the 'reply to sender' option on it.  Dear Reader, five months back but I found it. Has any of you trawled through five months of emails, or even kept five months of emails for that matter? Anyway, it produced the required result but I was too afraid of Sir Wizard to 'select all' and press 'delete' to lighten the load of the rest of the hoard.  How could I know or risk where that would end? And, yes, I have noted the possibility of unconscious reluctance to attend this appointment being the force which caused the mess up in the first place.I find there are blurred and inconsistent lines between the business of the unconscious,  unintended consequences and the sometime lack of caution in what we say and do. I had a visit from the young-ish Grandson of someone close to me.  He is a delightful person but appears to have arrived in the world without benefit of  filter at all.  As he took his leave at the end of a somewhat challenging meeting all about geneology and Donald Trump, he said "I have read that pancreatic cancer is very quick, so I had better come back and see you quite soon".  Not all that quick, thank Goodness. Bore da

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Further...

As I was saying last time but one, life has had the rather cheeky effect of turning the rules of relating upside down. Yesterday, I found myself  being encouraged to eat rather more than I had capacity for.  The food was Chinese and quite delicious and the dishes were meant for sharing.  There were, however, several that I was not particularly partial to.  To my consternatiom, people kept popping morsels in to my bowl and I had no choice but to bite on the dumpling and do as I was told.  The crux of it being that I must eat to keep my strength up.  Which sounded to me rather like the " You won't grow up to be a big strong net-ball player unless you eat  up all your dinner".

As the evening drew on, concern was expressed about how tired I might be getting, as in "It's past your bedtime". At a table for five I was the only one drinking a fruit cocktail, plain and simple.  Everyone else had a fruit cocktail with a base of vodka or some other spirit forbidden to the over/under age.  My dilemma is whether to settle for the implicit caring or fidget at the infantilising. I am helped on with my coat and even with my cardie.  This, on one level, is welcome to my stiff shoulder.  On another it makes me want to stamp my feet and tell the helper to b....r off .  I can manage perfectly well, thank you.  But I can't. You know what, I never noticed I had access to naughty words when I was younger.  Or if I did, I didn't use them.  But I do find I have not only access but an impulse to speak them in old age.  It just goes to show how a well-behaved teenage can turn in to an unruly old age, But I do have the guardian inner voice that, while indulgent, does rather frown on the inelegance of swearing and the like. "Little girls mustn't use words like that". I am begining to suspect I am behaving more like 70 going on 14 in the last phase of my life.  The effect of terminal illness seems to be a relaxing of codes and a decision not to buy a box with three bath-size bars of soap in it.  Much of the over-turn in roles between me and the young, as I have acknowledged, has to be a form of caring. That doesn't stop me from the inner response of 'shan't, won't, can't make me'. Surprisingly, one of the odder phenomena  in this paradox is when one of them picks up the bill when we have eaten in a restaurant together,  It was always I who paid  This act reminds me of something else I have put to you in the course of recording chronology versus reality: the question of what constitutes a memorial.  Someone close to me, before the age of computers, would pick up a hand-written restaurant bill I was about to pay, run her eye up and down it in a nano second and hand it back saying "That's right, Dear".  She comes to mind every time I eat out.

Finally, i want to tell you about someone I have known for sixty five years,  During that time we have talked about everything on planet earth, from Moses to Trump, from raising children to Welsh Rugby.  The other day, on the telephone, he was telling me about his osteoporosis and I was bringing him up to date on my situation.  Suddenly, it came to me we were no longer two intelligent, educated, thoughtful debaters.  We were two old women discussing our ailments in Swamsea Market.  Bore da

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Hair

Watching on television news of our Prime Minister's meeting with the American President, I took the liberty of noticing - or, rather, assuming - that she had been 'styled'.  She was wearing a   suit of a glorious vivid red and her hair had been cut to a smooth cap over her head where I had been accustomed to seeing her with a good but rather wayward, windswept cut: rather like the rest of us in fact.

A discussion, or dissertation more likely, arose between two early middle aged women I know.  The gist of which was that in 2017 not much has changed in the infantilising, patronising and diminishing way in which women are still treated at work and, indeed, everywhere else in the world.  It sprang from observing that Mrs May's appearance ahould  have no place in talking about her work and what she hoped to achieve. It was noted that she had been called 'headmistressy' as had Lady Thatcher in her time.  No-one had ever called Mr. Cameron or George Bush 'headmastery'. (Mr Obama wasn't) One of the women, a distinguished and senior person in her profession, admitted that she had felt herself forced to project more 'girly' and younger than she actually was in order to hold the attention of  bosses who, otherwise, were incapable of taking her reports, requests and presentations seriously. This stance was taken after years of struggling to hold on to a more realistic projection of who she was and she was sickened to find the strategy worked. The second woman had been promoted in a situation where she was already far up the ladder of success but then had to fight to be given the same job-title as a male colleague in the same situation. Assessing the clothes of  notable women is another irritating example of irrelevance but, perhaps, more readily noticable to those of us no longer having to deal with this outrageous situation, at least in the workplace. Although I am still prepared to go on about being called Liz by people on the telephone I have never met and don't intend to meet. I can see that in kindergarten it would not have done to call me Miss Mountford but that was many decades ago and should be binned, by now, with all the annoying rest of that insulting behaviour. I digress,  Tell me, honestly, did you ever hear a discussion about Churchill's ties or Eisenhowers shirts? No, neither did I.  I have occasionally heard criticism of shabby or inappropriate attire in a male public figure.  For instance, there is a television authority on politics who, it seems, was told to get a better hair cut and wear a tie while at work and, I must say, I was distracted, myself, from the portent of what he was saying by the shaggy dog nature of his appearance. However, the joke is, that at this point in my diatribe I have  noticed, in a light-bulb moment, that at last there is parity.  Which of us has not had a go at the hair of Mr. Trump?  Prynhawn da