Thursday, 15 June 2017

Fragmentation

It would be comforting to think you may have missed me because I havent 'posted' for too long.  I confess that energy levels vary from ok through okish to what energy? via you-are-joking-aren't you.  As it happens, though, if I push past the reluctance the energy will spring in and I am good to go

. I find myself the victim of a strange phenomenon. Bits of me are being broken off and dealt with by varying others and varying organisations.  For instance, I have  had to assign a piece of me to an Occupational Therapist. She needs the part that lies on the bed and is in apparent danger of pressure sores, and worse.  As it happens, I do not lie that long and that still but   O.T. good practice requires me to have a special pressure-proof mattress which has the effect of lifting the bed an extra six inches and precludes the use of a fitted bottom sheet. As you may have noticed, I am not one of life's most eager compliers so a certain amount of tension was created while I negotiated the O.T. down to a promise on my cat's life that I would ring the instant I found I actually needed such an extra mattress. She also has the bit of me that uses a grab-rail two thirds of the way down the bed and helps when I pull myself up off the bed,which food and nature require I do from tiome to time. There is a portion with the District Nurse who has taken over the sore bits of me both left over by the Podiatrist who now just has me as a name on a 'was'list and various other cuts and blemishes about which YOU NEVER KNOW. There is a palliative care doctor who takes that part of me that does need her services and also arranges delightful massage-type treats for a happily consigned back and legs,  I do find all this a challenge, particularly when I feel bossed in to doing something I wouldn't dream of doing if I were still a wholly holistic me.  I would not, by instinct, stuff an extra pillow under one leg - which one did she say? - in order to prevent whatever it is I am supposed to be preventing.  How does anyone sleep soundly if worrying about displacing a pillow whose purpose one hasn't grasped in the first place and whose presence threatens a cramp which disturbs  all the shoulds and musts and shouldn'ts and oughts whatever the initial good intention. Myself, I end up dreaming of an egg falling off  a wall whose survival was beyond all the King's horses and all the King's men from before the start of time and without benefit of Health and Safety . Prynhawn da

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Departure

A couple of weeks ago someone with whom I grew up died.  This had repercussions, some predictable and some unexpected.  The greatest of the latter was like the opening of a door in to a room packed with as- if tangible memories, visual, spiritual and emotional.  A lumber room which had been closed so long I had no recall of what had been stowed away in there and could even have denied the presence of some items another person would have sworn she/he had seen me put  in there.

I saw her winding my wet hair around her fingers to make ringlets that would dry my hair curly.  I saw us playing on the beach near where we lived.  I am wearing a sort of ruched swimsuit that little girls wore eight decades ago. There were long-forgotten smells, like the one of our home with a splash of pipe tobacco in it which my Father smoked. There, too, was the cat we shared, a black and white moggy whose name I didnt find amongst the items.  I had the black bit and she the white. There were chicken cluckings from the birds we kept for their eggs.  Had you asked me last week, I suspect I wouldn't have known we kept chickens  Much of the room was filled with relics of the second world war during which we grew up.  There was my siren suit, with its cats ears, ready to step into the moment the air raid sirens went. I think that siren suit's ears were the trigger for a life-long passion for cats. There, too, was the bolster she used to divide her bed when I had to sleep with her because visitors had my room. Not everything was related to the lost-one.  I saw school notebooks and a letter of commendation from a later time when  I had done a good job in a crisis at work.  On that occasion - fog at London Airport - I met Louis Armstrong as we travelled by train to fog-free Scotland for take off. There is a very real risk this analogy, if that's what it is, is running out of believability But, in that vein, mostly it was the essence of the Departed that I kept catching.   In today's terms she had had a very difficult early life, a text book nightmare of confusion, loss and change which went un-remarked by the adults responsible for us, as would have been usual in that era.  She dealt with her way of being in the world by being a performer: being what each of us wanted her to be whenever we wanted her to be it.  This couldnt be kept up all day every day so I think I experienced as much of the reality of her as anyone did.  Anyway, now she is no longer called upon to perform.  She is in a place, at last, where she is safe to be herself. Bore da

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