Saturday, 15 August 2015


Have you ever been to bed so  late you felt you had no need to brush your teeth in the morning?  I have had several of those nights recently and 'more than 75 going on 40' feels more like '75 going on 108' As I believe I keep pointing out, great(ish) age turns up some totally unexpected contentions - I think I mean things with which to contend. For instance, as well as getting tired, it never occured to me that a walk which has taken six minutes for the same number of decades gradually begins to take fifteen. . The phenomenon is so gradual that it doesn't register immediately but, having once been noticed,  I determined to increase my pace. No chance: the joints and screws and various other items needed for propulsion had simply stopped co-operating.

Nor did I expect deafness. There was nothing heriditary that suggested I may lose some degree of hearing. I have had some funny - both odd funny and humourous funny - experiences as a result. At the Out Patients' Clinic Enquiry Desk where I work at the local hospital I had a question from a pleasant looking man whose words I didn't catch. Granted, someone was moving squeaky equipment passed the desk at the same moment but the poor man had to repeat himself rather more than once. In the end, I cupped my hand to my ear and asked him to have one more go. "Audiology", he bellowed, "which clinic?". To my good fortune we both fell about laughing and my fears of being reported for conduct unbecoming trickled away. On his way back, passing perforce, the desk again, without stopping he pointed at me and said "I've made an appointment for you." I did, however, learn the lesson and determined to better the NHS hearing aids which, between you and me, I was already wearing, with some a little more sophisticated - also, they whistle. You may say, at my age, it's hardly worth the expense. My view is that I don't want to fade away without knowing whether those around me are blessing or cursing me. So yesterday, I duly presented myself at an audiology facility and underwent some tests which involved pressing a button in response to various high and low pitched bat and mouse noises. A diagnosis was made which I doubt took in to account the 'did-I-or-didn't-I' dilemma of what had or had not been heard. A situation which is not easy for an accuratologist who , in an ideal world, needed time to work out the yes or no of it. At any rate, a prescription was offered at a price so ridiculous I agreed to it much as one might have agreed to fund a scholarship in the Hearing Arts, in absolute expectation one would never be called upon to honour it. Scarlet swimsuit time is nearly upon us again, so the incentive was to have the aids in time to hear the waves crashing on the shore. If the Mistral blows I'll take them out. Prynhawn da

Sunday, 2 August 2015


Someone in the outer, outer circle of my life found she had had enough of dealing with things and this week gave up. I wonder if she could have put her imagination to the effect this would have on those, who in spite of her insecurities and fragility, loved and cherished her.  I have the feeling that souls in that position see their loved ones as being better off without them. So, for them, there is no question of sticking it out for the sake of whomever. As I understand it, she was not yet at retiring age so, in principal, with time for things to improve. This was clearly not a realistic expectation for her.

When I was forty eighty seemed like another country and, indeed, in many ways it is. There must be many inevitable losses in the ninth decade. The loss of a future may seem the starkest. Minor things will improve. One can fix a new knob to the door where the incumbent keeps coming off. One can find someone to lower the drying rack so that no-one has to fetch the steps to reach it. Some of us need to re-organise our way of being in the physical world. It is definitely declension of a walk along the banks of the river Ure. It is taxing to go anywhere by train if one conjugates the factors, because of the length of the platforms to be covered. To circumvent this, one can go by motor car. One - anyway, I, - can persuade a physician to try an injection which may help the pain caused by walking. What I and my contemporaries can't do is commit ourselves to a promise to do something in 2030, . Thinking about it, I concluded that hope was another commodity lost to age. However, this is not strictly so: one just has to find possibilities possible to hope for. I can't hope to walk along a river in Yorkshire, but I can hope for some relief from pain and for a handwritten, personal letter in the post. (You remember: a man or woman used to come up to the door and push paper through a special flap in it. You could then see who had been thinking of you or to whom you owed money).The old saw "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow etc etc" suddenly blossoms with meaning. This morning, after serving My Lord Cat with 'wet' food, which is good for him, he began a plaintive wail -whine, even -which I knew meant 'I'd like some biscuits please'. In due course, the communication became much more 'what the H... do you think you are doing. Never mind what's good for me'. As a direct result of the  news which opened this post, I gave him a huge plate of biscuits: (cat biscuits, of course, silly). I did this on the basis that you have only one life so ditch the shoulds and shouldn'ts and get on with it. Prynhawn da