Sunday, 12 February 2017


As I was saying last time but one, life has had the rather cheeky effect of turning the rules of relating upside down. Yesterday, I found myself  being encouraged to eat rather more than I had capacity for.  The food was Chinese and quite delicious and the dishes were meant for sharing.  There were, however, several that I was not particularly partial to.  To my consternatiom, people kept popping morsels in to my bowl and I had no choice but to bite on the dumpling and do as I was told.  The crux of it being that I must eat to keep my strength up.  Which sounded to me rather like the " You won't grow up to be a big strong net-ball player unless you eat  up all your dinner".

As the evening drew on, concern was expressed about how tired I might be getting, as in "It's past your bedtime". At a table for five I was the only one drinking a fruit cocktail, plain and simple.  Everyone else had a fruit cocktail with a base of vodka or some other spirit forbidden to the over/under age.  My dilemma is whether to settle for the implicit caring or fidget at the infantilising. I am helped on with my coat and even with my cardie.  This, on one level, is welcome to my stiff shoulder.  On another it makes me want to stamp my feet and tell the helper to b....r off .  I can manage perfectly well, thank you.  But I can't. You know what, I never noticed I had access to naughty words when I was younger.  Or if I did, I didn't use them.  But I do find I have not only access but an impulse to speak them in old age.  It just goes to show how a well-behaved teenage can turn in to an unruly old age, But I do have the guardian inner voice that, while indulgent, does rather frown on the inelegance of swearing and the like. "Little girls mustn't use words like that". I am begining to suspect I am behaving more like 70 going on 14 in the last phase of my life.  The effect of terminal illness seems to be a relaxing of codes and a decision not to buy a box with three bath-size bars of soap in it.  Much of the over-turn in roles between me and the young, as I have acknowledged, has to be a form of caring. That doesn't stop me from the inner response of 'shan't, won't, can't make me'. Surprisingly, one of the odder phenomena  in this paradox is when one of them picks up the bill when we have eaten in a restaurant together,  It was always I who paid  This act reminds me of something else I have put to you in the course of recording chronology versus reality: the question of what constitutes a memorial.  Someone close to me, before the age of computers, would pick up a hand-written restaurant bill I was about to pay, run her eye up and down it in a nano second and hand it back saying "That's right, Dear".  She comes to mind every time I eat out.

Finally, i want to tell you about someone I have known for sixty five years,  During that time we have talked about everything on planet earth, from Moses to Trump, from raising children to Welsh Rugby.  The other day, on the telephone, he was telling me about his osteoporosis and I was bringing him up to date on my situation.  Suddenly, it came to me we were no longer two intelligent, educated, thoughtful debaters.  We were two old women discussing our ailments in Swamsea Market.  Bore da