Monday, 19 November 2012


There you are. There's your clue: for me, 'Blogfest' becomes 'Conference'. When you reach my grand old age, keeping up with developments is not easy. At my age, a 'fest' was something that happened in, say, Germany and was to do with sinking enormous quantities of beer. Last week, it applied to a gathering of bloggers and was one of the nicest and most fun days I've had in a long time. Mind you, I think I highered the average age of participants by at least a decade. There were distances and stairs and low chairs and all the impedimenta which roll off the eyeballs of the young and younger and make my life harder. But there were also friendliness, and croissants and delicious buffet food. Above all, there were seriously interesting people with seriously interesting things to say.

In my professional life I attended more Conferences than I have kept memory of. I have written papers for them and travelled many miles to them. Giving a paper is one thing: one just pretends one is at home reading it through to an attendant cat or a long-suffering partner. One may also picture one's Mother, proudly drinking in every incomprehensible word. Asking a question is another. Dear Reader, that's just what I did. I gave it almost no thought - the act, not the question - so spoke before I could settle back on to the bed of nerves known to paper-givers everywhere. The subject around was, more or less, confidentiality. Now, kind followers will know that Liz's blog is based on her experience of being more  than her allotted three score and ten in the actual world and around about forty in the inner world.. This means, inevitably, making use of daily happenings and interactions with the rest of humanity. Mostly, the interactees are total strangers and I can address them as such even if they are not. The most relevant exception is the Guru, whom loyal followers will know is very real and very significant in Liz's life. He knows. He reads the blogs. He is totally compliant and very encouraging. People who know Liz off the page, so to speak, may well identify him. It seems unlikely that kind followers in Mountain View California could do so. What is more important is that this is alright with him. But do let me know if you know who  is the jerk who said to his companion as I stumbled on ice walking passed them; "That old girl shouldn't be let out on her own".

The reason for telling you this is that I did ask a question. When I was actually forty I doubt I would have had the courage. Well, not exactly a question in the QA sense. I aired the question of the need for the use of personal material which could be done discreetly and anonymously pointing no fingers and hurting no feelings as a sort of 'Why Not?' Thank you all for greeting it so supportingly and warmly and also the learned, dissenting professor who was so incensed I lost track of what she was actually saying for fear of the blue flames which emanated from behind me where she sat. Later,when I was surrounded by well-wishers she came and shook my hand which I took to mean one of us could and should forgive the other. I'm not sure which who was which. Wonderful! Nearing three score and twenty, (must be four score) and still being dressed down by the professor. Bore da.

Friday, 9 November 2012


What ever your age group, you may well be apprised of the fact that getting in and out of the bath requires more and more enterprise and initiative as time goes on. In my age group I am passed  enterprise and initiative. I am in to 'cannot do it'. It needed only one experience of feeling I was going to spend the rest of my life at the bottom of this white plastic - not even porcelain - cave for me to take to the unpleasant alternative of having water pour over my head , down my back and between my toes: id est, to  shower. However, my shower happens to be in my bath. This did not present a problem before my  recent near miss life/death experience. Subsequently, I have been unable to climb over the edge of the bath to place myself under the deluge without help. Help there is. I am still under the eye of a carer. My Bank Manager tells me this has to stop. My pride tells me this has to stop. My body tells me it wants to manage itself. Dilemma: can't climb in to the bath unaided. Solution: remove bath and replace with walk-in shower. Wonderful, simple, a solution to solve the worst of the 'cannots'. Pause for reflection: removing a bath and installing a shower is not like taking out from a drawer a red sweater, having a change of heart and taking out a grey one instead. It involves every room on every floor of a small but three story house. Believe me, there is dust on the lower ground floor where reside a lodger and a washing machine. Both of which are essential to the smooth running of Liz's life.

Having stated the stark, I shall indulge in the detail. A film of fine dust has covered walls, ridges, clothes, bits and pieces. To H... with prevarication. There is nowhere unaffected by the 'clever' soluition to the can't- climb -over- the-edge- of-a -bath problem. The bathroom is en suite with the bedroom. The plumbing for the shower lies in a cupboard in the bedroom (Don't ask . I'm a blogger, not a builder.) That cupboard holds all my best clothes. Where are they? On a couch on which a recovering invalid reclines while she regains her strength. Only at the moment, lounging has to be on the bed while an army of men, none of whom speaks English, marches back and forth through the room, with eyes averted,  a tread that shakes the bed and moves the dust about ever more efficiently. I speak neither Russian, Polish nor Latvian and have to wait for the boss, who speaks everything but Welsh, by which time whatever mistake is concreted in for ever. What would you have done? There were options. Keep the carer and the bath for ever - which may not be so long given my recent experience- and break the bank. Struggle over the edge of the bath alone, and risk breaking my neck. Fine if it were fatal, expensive if it were not. Wash bit by bit at the basin. I don't think so. I havent had a strip wash since I was 6 and affected by war-time conditions. Pop in to a neighbour and beg a shower. Come on. We live in the real world most of the time so clearly no option but that which |I chose: remove the bath and put in a walk-in shower which even my cat can get in to without stretching a leg. She will miss the dripping bath tap which she used as a fresh- water fountain but she has had a lot to get used to in the last few months. Even her fur is covered in this dust and she doesnt like the taste. I can feel it under my fingers though I promise you I have kept the keyboard covered ab initio. All my toiletries are dusty, even my toothpaste tube and, yes, I did put them elsewhere. However, there IS no elsewhere. Even the very downstairs linen cupboard was emptied because the on/off taps for the warer supply were in there. It took three women two hours to restore and replace. That's six hours work according to my Maths. The front door is permanently open and I am heating the street.  I do see this may not be of the least interest to you youngsters, but we oldsters who are young at heart and have memories, cling to the one that has us lying in a bath full of lovely hot water with five whirlpool jets and all the time in the world, smelly stuff in, radio on. Where are the ablutions of yesteryear? Gone, alas, like our youth too soon. Prynhawn da.