Saturday, 28 December 2013

Delights and Dislights

For someone who thrives on routine and ritual, the current ten Sundays in a row - from Christmas Eve to the second of January of course - are  trying, to say the least. I am ready for a sabbatical from Sabaths, particularly since, at my age, the last lot feel like only a month or so ago. I think I must never have lost that baby thing when you begin to realise that the a) of hunger will be met by the b) of lunch in what one would see as the inevitable if one were old and sophisticated enough to know the concept and, thus, the word for it. Anyway, on my eve of New Year's list of cons and pros, ten days of Sundays are conissimo. During the enforced idleness I have been reviewing the pleasures and displeasures from the vantage point of three score and many more then ten to see how they differ from those of two score. I start with the toughest of them all: the Wizard of Cyberspace. I hardly dare to put his name to paper so superstitious of his power am I, but I feel it's only fair to tell you that this very enterprise has already come a cropper once. Just as I was luxuriating in a reliving of my first delight, with two fell swoops all was eradicated. Somehow, somewhere  I seem to bring my wrist down on the bottom of the keyboard and the screen of prose flows straight out in to the ether. I may have pressed a neurotic fifty times on 'save': saved it has not. The Guru says I must have done something. I know not what. I wish I did. Anyway, I had been telling you of the great pleasure of getting up in the middle of the night to find it is 4.10 am and I can crawl back in to the lovely warm nest for lots more night. When I was forty, I would rail against the middle of the night wake up call, now I actively will myself to do so simply for that delicious gift of more bedtime. Elderflower cordial when I am thirsty comes close to re-bedding. Milk choclate with nuts will do it for me, too, although, truth be told, that delight comes with a contra-indication because I am left feeling slightly nauseous. There is delight in watching my cat watch me prepare for bed and as soon as I am in and stationary leaping on top of me to settle for the night. She is the beater when it comes to routine and ritual; from under the bedside lamp,she picks her way through and around the impedimenta on the bedside table and lands on top of me, always with her back to me although she is always front ways up during the day. People who are close to me hesitate to have work done in their house which  would necessitate moving out for a time because their seriously ancient cat's life is so ruled by ritual that there is only one side of the staircase she will walk down and relocating is, therefore, out of the question.

Of dontlights there are so many I don't know where to start. If I weren't too afraid of his power to name him, You Know Who would be high on the list.  I dislike being called 'Liz' or even 'Elizabeth' by the young lady on the Gas Board switchboard. However, I lack the courage to say, "I prefer,' Mrs. Mountford' if you please".I don't like stepping out of a warm shower in to a cool rest of bathroom. I don't like brown envelopes and I like even less postmen who leave a card saying they have taken my parcel away because I wasn't in to receive it. Yes I was and, no, he didnt ring the bell. I don't like sprouts and at my age I don't have to eat them. I hate narrow, steep stairs and have to choose restaurants by the location of their facilities. 

These are a few of my favourite things and rather fewer of my unfavourites. More to follow one of these days. Prynhawn da. PS I do like blogging.

Monday, 2 December 2013


Alright: on the bullet I have bitten. (No preposition at the end, you will note.) The particular bullet on which I have bitten is, in truth, about the real size and shape of a bullet but soft and malleable. I have , at last, put the hearing aids the NHS so generously gave me to their proper use, that is, in my ears. You have no idea what a noisy world we live in. On my return from the audiology department at my local hospital I was in the bathroom when I heard the loudest most racous meow I had ever experienced. I tore back down the stairs - well, lumbered actually - to see what harm had befallen my beloved cat to find her standing there, merely trying to establish where she could find me. The bedside clock has been banished  to a distant drawer and the radio reduced to about 50 whatevers of volume: (around 72, since you ask.) Turning the pages of the newspaper makes a  sound like a ship's cable being pulled through the door which houses the anchor. I am more than somewhat disillusioned. I thought of cat-faced-darling as having a very ladylike turn of speech. In fact, she sounds like an inebriated young supporter of a losing football side. Don't get me wrong. I still adore her. I just wish she would talk a bit less - and quietly. I have yet to put this development to the Hospital Enquiry Desk test. I am hopeful that I shall hear my enquirers the first time they ask me something  Up until now, I have been relying on guesswork and hope.

Life management has had to change. Get up at least ten  minutes earlier than erstwhile to allow insertion time. Hair spray before they go in and wait until it dries,  so as not to contaminate the little dears, of course. No adjustment to styling once equipped otherwise I might catch the relevant bit in the brush and have it speared on a bristle. My aids appear to have no controls other than in or out, loud or louder.  My colleague at the Enquiry Desk has three adjustments, one of which cuts out extraneous background noise. She acquired her aids from the same source so I shall have to look in to my seeming deprivation. Talk about " you gave her a bigger slice of cake than you gave me". Along with "you said" that must be the most frequent of childhood complaints. Another extraordinary happenning: having experienced the greater clarity and underlying scratch of everyday life, I somehow expected to be seeing better, too. This was absolute nonsense, of course, but I keep telling you directly or by implication how both complex and straightforward is the inner world and here is yet another example. All this started only five days ago and I am rather proud of how I have adapted. The instruction book tells me to try an hour or so at a time, inside and out, but I have had them in all day every day since the beginning. Oh dear: I was tempted to say 'ab inititio', a phrase I havent thought of since I left University. Perhaps my sight is unaffected but my superiority complex is not.  Sseriously, though, without having, anyway consciously, noticed a dampening effect on my confidence of the nodding and smiling response which goes with a degree of deafness, I do seem to have grown cheekier in the last five days. "There's nowt so queer as folk" as they say up North...".nothing so odd as people", for those of you in Mountview California. Bore da