Monday, 8 May 2017

Grandma's Eggs

Teaching ones Grandmother to suck eggs is a phrase I have never got my understanding around. Of course, I do know that it means it is unwise to teach Grandma something she undoubtedly knows already, but why "suck eggs"?  I didn't know either of my Grandmothers.  I do know the ethos of my family, though, and sucking eggs doesn't strike me as having been a routine pastime for family visits.

What I have in mind at the moment is, nevertheless, egg-related.  Think of an egg-timer: Turn it upside down from its Grandma position and there you have "advice for the young".  Once again, my pedantry would like to clear things with the youngster-in- an- old - container basis of this blog.  I think it works,  Besides, a pedant with a terminal illness has to look passed its ps and qs occasionally. Right, first piece of advicce.  1) Keep fit. Your ancient body will have enough to cope with so muscle-neglect during earlier times can only present a doodled- on sheet of paper on which to sketch your older mobility.  2) Watch your teeth.  Those of us brought up in the second world war have had to be extra vigilant.  Regular dental care was not always possible.  Preparation for your day can take long enough without the added hassle of organising teeth and avoiding apples. 3) Leave your hair alone. Well, not entirely alone.  By all means wash, dry, brush, comb and even pop in a few rollers if it would help the shape.  Have it well cut.   Do not colour.  False hair doesn't go with real skin .  It just doesn't so keep your hair in good condition and don't pretend grey is brown. 4) Don't use energy to find romance if your are not already in a relationship of some standing.  Romance is lovely but tiring, demanding, frustrating and with rules that may have changed since you did it last.  A warm, funny, conversational companion spells romance after three score years and ten.  There's a bonus if the physical stuff is possible, too, but see  (1) above.  5) Read the papers.  You can only too easily be left in the cold while the younger attendees of a gathering discuss, argue and fear the portent of current news. No time to read?   Don't pretend: you do have time enough now you have almost none of the duties of your younger days. 6) Try to ration discourse which begins " when I was your age/young/fit/working"  Few younger companions will give a d..n.  7) Accept that long-term givens may turn in to present impossibilities.  You may have been used to walking along the banks of the river Ure mile after mile with lunch at a pub twelve miles on.  Be thankful,  now, that there is a pub at the top of your road.  8) If you didn't learn Italian or German or  re-learn Welsh, be straight with yourself.  You were neglectful: live with it. 9) Above all, relax. you are whom you are.  Time to let yourself off the persistent struggle to be a better person. ,Good enough is good enough  Prynhawn da

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Short Cuts

Having always had a leaning towards unorthodox solutions, I find, in my current circumstances, that I am even more inventive about competent management.

At one point in my life, I had a little studio in my home county.  This, in itself, is unremarkable.  However, it meant that of many things I have two.  For instance, I have two small travelling clocks.  What makes more sense than having one at either side of the bed so that, on whichever side I am lying, I can see what time it is  Some examples are quite ordinary and no doubt apply to everybody.  In every possible place of need there is a box of tissues.  There are, by the same reckoning, rather too many telephones distributed where I can pick them up two rings post first one..  I know, I know, why not just have one mobile phone one can carry in one's pocket?  Where's the challenge in that?  I remember, as a fairly little one, confusing my Mother by asking for a second bar of soap: one to rest on the hand basin and one by the bath.  My experience having been that the only bar of soap found itself at whichever site I  was not.  As an 'accompanying other' in my earlier life I travelled a great deal.  I had two complete toilet bags and two make up bags so that all I had to do to be ready was pick them up and go.  Mind you, there is a school of thought that suggests there is something therapeutic in picking up one's toileteries to pack one by one as a way of taking leave and of replacing them, similarly, as a way of coming home. This method would probably help even a bad case of Transition Anxiety.  Perhaps I havent told you about this phenomenon for which I humbly (not too humbly) take credit. While I was working and met many performing musicians who moved about a lot I identified a situation where one was neither still at the starting point nor yet at the destination.  For instance, waiting for a taxi.  You are sitting in your hall but can''t feel still at home in  your spirit but not yet on your way to wherever.  This situation can cause  feelings of real distress and anxiety.  Clearly, it matters more the greater the gap between the here and the there.  A better example of that may be if you emigrate from your home country to live in another.  With your old home emptied by the removers you can't feel as if you still live in it but you have yet to arrive in your new environment: (nowt nor somat, as I've pointed out before).   You are, thus, in transition and must treat yourself kindly and with respect. Actually, the truth seems to be that what I really relish in all this  is that very challenge to find a solution. .  Bore da

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