Saturday, 13 December 2014


In response to the second 'comment' writer on 'Addiction' I will, indeed, expand on 'accuratology', at the obvious risk of boring the rest of you. (There you are, I have already fallen in to the addictive trap: should 'accuratology', as written above, have one or two inverted commas? Believe me. It is not a  condition to identify as a laughing matter). I do see that it may well be confused with pedantry - see 'comment' number 1.   My inner voice knows they are different but the rest of me  continues to thrash it out. Perhaps, a few more examples will help clarifification. Spelling is rife with them. Why has 'mediaeval' to be 'medieval'?  I wince every time I come across the latter rendition. Why say 'intervention' when what has been received is an enquiry? The play ended at 10.15pm. No it didn't: it was 10.16.We last met in August 2010. No we didn't. It was September. It's only about 100 yards away. No it's not. It's 99.9 yards away. Can you imagine how an accuratologist feels when the setting of a play or an opera is up-dated from its intrinsic period to, for instance, the present day? Have you ever seen an astronaut draw a sword?

You can see how one's circle could be driven mad by the manifestation of this condition. Someone close to me insists that none of it - grammar, syntax, spelling - matters as long as one is understood. I, on the contrary, see language serving, among other things, as a  boundary. The confines of correctness represent order and reliability. When we ignore it chaos may well ensue. What this old lady sees as the collapse of manners and consideration is a perilous indication of such chaos. I am not used to seeing fit young men in the seats on a 'bus supposedly reserved for the less able. Likewise, I am not a happy bunny when I have been waiting for the nice disabled loo, on the level, no stairs and a very able-bodied young person comes out having taken long enough to complete a whole toilette.

 I am not sure how helpful accuratology is when practised at the hospital enquiry desk. My colleague may say - " Down that corridor, on the right." Yours truly will say - " Along that corridor, second clinic on the right". Who knows: the expansion may make the patient late for her/his appointment. But I can't sit easy on my chair when 'down' means 'below' so the patient could expect to be dropped though the floor. However, and it's a big however, while my forty-year old self may be jumping up and down with anger and frustration, the presenting present day self is calm and acceptance incarnate. Prynhawn da.

Sunday, 7 December 2014


My name is Liz: I'm an accuracolic. I haven't been able to decide if this is a fault or a blessing or simply a fact. I have had a very long time, indeed, to live with the condition and have only just got round to looking at it and its effect on my way of being in the world. As a child one of my most frequent complaints was "But you said.....", an extremely irritating whinge to the adults responsible for me. Now, it takes many and various forms. I am annoyingly punctual. I used to think this was due to my profession where my working day was divided in to fixed slots and the significance of being ready on time became part of what we were doing. A colleague has recently pointed out that we may well have been drawn to the job because of a need to be where we said we would be when we said we would be there; the mirror image  of my own assumption.

The phenomenon makes other unexpected inroads in to every day life. I can't be doing without apostrophes - apostrophes in the right place, that is. I also watch word order and grammar and syntax with the eagle eye of the possessed. Alphabetical order: now there's a thing for an accuracolic who works in an uncomputerised library as, once a week at the local hospital, I do. My day starts with going through the books -out card index. Inevitably, in the seven days since I last looked, the cards have been shuffled in to total disorder. Correcting this, I have started to check on the whereabouts of books which should have been returned during 2013. This involves getting up to look on the shelves and to check on the trolleys which go round the wards. Standing at the shelves I am compelled to put the books that are there in to alphabetical order, both of author and of title. I am thoroughly discomforted by 'white' lies - when I recognise them, of course. I get another rush of' but-you-saids. I can't settle for pretend friendliness or warmth. I am uneasy in its presence and believe I would be more at ease with the truth of hostility. I have to put down a book wherein the characters are not behaving as I expect them, from experience of how we humans operate, to behave. It makes amateur dramatics impossible for me because I need to agree with the Director's interpretation of the character. (I am already having difficulty with the relevance of this post to 75 going on 40, but what the Hell...
 On balance, though, it is probably time-keeping which pre-occupies my addiction most. However, I do understand : punctuality can be both a bore and a perceived reprimand by those who are more relaxed about the clock. In due course, I shall have to have a headstone which says  "The late Liz, who was never late". Bore da

Friday, 21 November 2014


Much to my rue I have to acknowledge that the difference between me made up and me bare-skinned is such, with reference to the latter, as to frighten the children and drive away the horses. In days of yore I could rush in to the sea, naked - as to face, not as to birthday suit - and rush out again simply glowing. The pity is that, having registered this, I am wondering whether I would have the cheek to take the scarlet swimsuit and the Guru to the seaside ever again. My advice to all you half-my-agers is to enjoy it while you may and to look away when the elderly, needs must, expose those of their bits a swimsuit cannot reach.

In a rare drawer tidying exercise, I came across some belts, . Being an habitual hoarder and not too keen on the sort-out sessions my Mother, with relish, did regularly, I hadn't seen these items since six inches ago. What to do with such a collection when there is no realistic chance of them ever going round my middle again. Postpone the decision is the only possible decision. Likewise, glorious evening clothes from the era of another life: even if I were to shrink in to them anew, this Cinderella is 98% sure not to be going to the ball ever again.  There are shoes in the cupboard with heels that make me feel giddy just to look at them. I remember keeping a pair of slip-on shoes permanently in the car because there was no question of pedalling in my out and about footwear. The females close to me have lives so busy there is no possibility of  trapping them in to a ruthless three pile day. (You do know what I mean: one pile 'keep, one pile 'charity', one pile 'throw out'). I don't feel inclined to ask a male. I suspect I am secretly looking for help from someone as sentimental about possessions as I am. Somehow, I can't think the men I know would choose compassion over ruthlessness. Mind you, I happen to know that the Guru had shirts and 'T' shirts from the time he was twelve years old in his wardrobe. I suspect we equate our clothes/possessions with security and continuity. Perhaps we feel as if we were sacrificing crumbs of our sense of who we are when we drop a faded scarf on to the charity pile, or even worse, on to the throw away pile. Is it that a sense of a whole self depends on continuing to own every item that has ever meant anything to us, as if the outer container of the inner self depended on outgrown belts and too tight evening dresses - or suits, of course; I am nothing if not politically correct. (That's not true as you very well know. But I do do my best). Well there you are: I  just typed the two 'do's' without a space. That's the answer: only the dodo survives in my lexicon of what was then and what is now. You can't have one without the other. You can't have now without then. Bore da

Friday, 7 November 2014

In short

As you are aware, or you wouldn't feel like reading this, life after the magic seventy is rather different from life at forty. How banal: I know, but it seemed to need saying. What I have been noticing, even relishing, in the last little while is the way in which happenings, occurences and so on have changed their weight and balance. The concern for what goes on in the world remains and is heightened. A colleague recently said she couldn't bring herself to listen to or watch the news. Surely, the least one can do is listen and watch. What I wanted to put to you, today, though, is the pleasure in things one might not even have noticed in earlier decades. I like to 'do' the crossword in a national broadsheet. (The inverted commas are because I finish it but rarely). Usually, it is on the back page so all you need to do is turn the paper over and there you have it. It's easy to check yesterday's and it's easy to start on today's. However, recently the paper has been going in for more advertising so rather too often there is a full page advertisement on the back page and the crossword is inside that page. On the days when it is on the back page I feel a little flutter of satisfaction, something warm in the region of the solar plexus that goes down in to the core of me.  All is right with the world.

A parking space just where you most need it drops some more warmth in to that happiness bucket. Sometimes there is a real letter in the post, hand written and from an identifiable source. Plop goes another fluid ounce. Opening things provides an inexhaustable source of potential pleasure and contemporary pain. I can't open things. Someone close to me gave me a gadget which grips a top and, when a handle is turned, obligingly takes it off. That's pleasurable.  At work in the hospital I have to use my teeth on a bottle of water. No, I can't take the gadget with me, silly. My bag is the weight of a small toddler anyway. I do  have grave doubts about the professionalism of  being caught with a bottle in my mouth when an enquirer turns up at my desk but I do need the hydration and, of course, the swallow of warm glow that comes with  success. Finding I do have some more toothpaste, cupboarded but forgotten, is another example of this delicious phenomenon. Someone who uses a singular verb with a singular noun has the same effect; further, sea water that is warmer than you thought when you plunged bravely in. I am struggling to find a simile that will really illuminate what it is I am relishing and trying to share with you. Is it like  gulps of warm soup on a cold day as, one after the other, they settle in your tummy and spread warmth down your arms and round your back? No, it's not quite that. It's gentler and more profound: a sort of central 'yes'. Never mind. One must just hope that the bucket keeps replenishing before one kicks it. Bore da

Sunday, 2 November 2014


The significant news in this household is that a new Manager has moved in. A feline of such pedigree that one is informed even of the names of his great, great, great grandparents. So far so impeccable. Now, Liz has never been owned by a pedigree cat before, nor a male however neutered, so there is a great deal of learning on both sides.  He is black and VERY furry. As far as I can tell he has no face, only eyes which are deeply golden and two holes through which, I assume, he breathes. He is two and a half and has been living with his breeder until a month ago when he moved in with a local family with whom I have a Vet in common. The short version is that the Mother of two small children with her own health issues found she had too much on her plate to serve him in the way to which he was accustomed. Evidently, the breeder  also failed him. She had wanted to breed from him, but it turned out that he didn't find that an attractive proposition, spurning all the princesses to whom he was introduced.
 The interim slave explained that he would need grooming and provided all the necessary equipment so to do. Now, there was Liz's first mistake. What was it about him that made him too much to find room on her particular plate, and what was meant by grooming? These were two rather important questions which slipped under the radar of yours truly, who failed to ask . His age, the Vet connection and even his trousseau blinded me to the more mundane of his requirements, The Guru will be pleased to hear that he has pulled one of my toes in to the 21st century, at least: I actually looked on line to find out about grooming. Dear Reader, there were three screens- full of instruction. The bit about how to deal with his rear end was very good for my figure: it took away all my appetite . He, on the other hand, has a ginormous appetite and, for lack of advice at the weekend, I have given him two pouches of food which were vacuumed down before I had time to step back from his tray. However, he seems not to have touched neither the milk nor the water put down for his needs overnight and this morning. Second mistake: I have clearly bitten off more than I can chew and am landed with a boss who, it seems, cannot be left for any time at all unless with an expert bottom brusher with the capacity to see which way round is a cat with no discernible face who is the same width all the way along. Wish me luck - and  him patience. Bore da

Friday, 24 October 2014


At this point in time - I can't believe I said that - anyway, currently, I can say I am a fairly well being. (Because, Dear Reader, I am allergic to jargon and cliche is why). Having out-run the Grim Reaper two years ago I am in a condition much as you would expect an elderly lady to be. I have not gone back to my pre-condition but I am still quite fluent in the day to day requirements of the 'Survived'. One of the amazing people who saved me at the time told me I should regard myself as having run two full marathons, uphill carrying a bicycle, or some such, on my back. It took me ten days to regain my strength simply having heard her say that. But seriously, the state of one's body and its capacities do take up rather too much time and management the further one moves from the long-distance running days of yore.

If you learn to listen to your body it will tell exactly what the source of the pain may be. I have been talking to a friend who has had an intractable stiffness in her neck for a very long time. When she asked herself what factor was a 'pain in the neck' in her life she realised it was her boss and, in due course, changed her job. Don't laugh. Try it yourself. Another related yarn: someone I know suffered difficulty in swallowing. He spent days with various specialists working, without success, to resolve his predicament, living on soup, mousse and jelly. (Not American jelly but American 'jello'.) In the end, responding to the question " What can't you swallow?" he identified a severe upset with the circumstances of his life and took steps to sort it out. It's fun, isn't it, trying to translate the idiom in to the underlying truth. It reminds me of trying to understand my beloved cat's efforts to inform me. "What kind of miaow?" I would ask her and she would obligingly miaow again and again and again until the stupid two-legger got the message. A woman I met who suffered permanent back ache had frail, elderly parents in another town, a difficult partner and four teen-age monsters. Well, she would, wouldn't she, with the load she was carrying.The difficulty lies in trying to work out what is a bodily expression of some inner world hassle, what is a medical condition requiring qualified treatment and what is down to three score and ten years of wear and tear. My forty-year-old inner voice spends fruitless minutes persuading my elderly outer self that this or that pain is nothing to do with anno domini and should be atended to fifthwith. On the other hand, many General Practioners will collude to dismiss the concerns of the no-longer-young with a sort of what-do-you-expect-at-your-age prescription. I am reminded of the story of two no-longer-young musicians who, on meeting, would start with an organ recital. Bore da

Sunday, 12 October 2014


One minute I am sure there is nothing new in the world and the next I am driven in to a corner in a darkened room aware that so much is new there is no way I can hope to assimilate it, not even all, but enough to survive in the here and now. (It's kinder not to groan at me: after all, that's what the blog is about. ) I was thrust in to the current realisation because my foot slipped off the clutch pedal of my car. I asked the Guru if there existed such things as non-slip covers for car pedals. He likes driving and is boysie about cars, when he was little routinely taking them apart to see how they worked;(No, silly: his toy cars.)If you are young enough, you won't be surprised that he told me to search-engine it. Well, truth be told, he mentioned the name of the search-engine, but, as I keep telling you, I don't say 'Hoover' either and I am b....y minded about making a verb out of a noun and thereby providing free advertising. (Perhaps that last would do better in green ink. Listen, I can barely use the computer let alone change its colour nor even find its paragraphs.) Bless him, he does persist in trying to drag me in to the world everyone else is living in. Having said that, the Father of my Children doesn't even have a computer. Considering the breadth of his interests and capabilities, this could be surprising. However, he is not good with frustration - who is -and has taken the wise decision not to put himself through it. It may also be that where he lives it would cause quite a stir were he to throw it out of one of the windows.(paragraph) Yesterday, I went to see one of the most human, funny and altogether satisfying films I have ever seen. In the context of this post, I mention it because I had quite a challenging journey to a cinema showing it. To avoid one of the necessary three bus-legs I drove to the point where the second bus started. No problem there: the problem was finding somewhere to leave the car. I do have the right to park on a single yellow line by virtue of my Blue 'Disabled' badge but for three hours only. It took me so long to find a solution I nearly missed the film. The point being that, had I search-engined it, I would have found it showing almost within walking distance of where I live: humph. There is a sort of mysticism about the cyber world. It's as if the phantasy of omnipotence sometimes experiencced by the teenaged young has come true. There is something/someone out there who really does know everything on earth and elsewhere that is capable of being known. I have been honoured to know several young people who indulged in day-dreams of being an oracle, a greek God from whom all knowledge flowed, myself included. Therefore,after three score and a lot more than ten, it's not surprising, surely, that I am finding something weird about this phenomenon coming to pass. One can access car pedal covers, information about a relative living in Hawaii, Marmite - even if it arrives in a jar too big to stand on a shelf- the forgotten maiden name of a college friend not seen for sixty years, the unruly doings of people in the news and, I am told, pictures of the streets where we live. I am aware that this particular obsession of mine crops up with potentially boring frequency. I beg you to forgive me. I am as a child in front of a toy shop window: everything is possible but there is so much out there I feel terrified and have to go away empty handed. It is as if we had so little faith in an all-knowing, all powerful God that we have had to create one. Now I have a headache. I shall go in search of an analgesic without benefit of engine. And so to bed. Nos da