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Staycation

This morning BFF flew home to Bonny Scotland after staying here to take care of me for a smidge over two weeks. After the stress and worries this year has thrown at me, the postponement of our April pj-party due to CoVid19, it was so unbelievably uplifting to have BFF walk through my door.

Our time together has three main heading, films, food and yarning. Now that might be silly chatter yarning or the more creative productive yarning. This time as well as some cat protection blankets we also tackled some rather cute cat toy mice and fish.

Previous visits have been invaded by the black and white bundle of adorability, affectionately known as Mickey #NotMyCat, this time he brought his brother Ginger #NotMyCat2. He’s a lot more timid but did like to snooze comfortably and alone either on my bedroom windowsill or the woollen blanket on my bed, he’s also very vocal and announces his arrival. Both offered their approval of the crocheted toys, plus the rubs and snooze spots, and especially the edible treats.

My BFF is multi talented, not only did I get a much needed hair cut but a pedi soak too. Mickey gave the humming, vibrating bowl of water a glare, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d decided to dip a paw in but instead he gave it the usual cat statesmanship glare of indifference crossed with that ‘stupid humans’ expression they are so adept at.

After 187 consecutive days I escaped the confines of my dusty hovel and we ventured along the High Street, suitably covered in my new denim jacket (Christmas and birthday present from BFF) and wearing a natty face mask. A few errands were ticked off the list, social distancing guidelines and hand sanitising adhered to, the find trousers task one sadly was not successful.

This visits films included

  • Spitfire
  • The ugly dachshund
  • Armstrong
  • The absentminded professor
  • Kinky boots
  • Summer in February
  • Hidden Figures
  • Broken Flowers
  • The Great Gatsby
  • First Man
  • The Parent Trap
  • Flight
  • Born On The Fourth Of July
  • A summer place
  • A single man
  • First Wives Club
  • Calamity Jane
  • The Iron Maiden
  • A map of the world
  • Capote
  • Pollyanna
  • There’s No a Business Like Show business
  • American Pastoral
  • Walk The Line
  • The Crown Seasons 1 & 2

Back to our respective routines, counting down and conjuring up, until we can get together again.

Oh the tasty treat pictured, it’s enchilasagne …. enchiladas but layered in a lasagne fashion, it is so delicious and no layer out weighs another. BFF made a second batch so there are more for me to enjoy. Did I say my wonderful BFF was multi talented???

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2020 in Films, General, Life, people

 

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The Stunned Pause

Yesterday I had one of those instances where Big Sis would have literally laughed out loud. It began with my afternoon care visit, the carer is one I do not have very regularly but has been coming here for a few Saturday afternoons, we’ve had a number of conversations about various things. How to describe her, she’s short and rounded, akin the Estelle Getty look. She has a tendency to speak as if she’s looking after a half-deaf tottery ancient oldie who starts each sentence with a croaky “I’m eighty four you know…” type vibe.

She mentioned that her brother goes to a music evening where those gathered listen to and discuss music, wondered whether that would be something of interest to me (absolutely not). I replied that not many people listen to the styles of music that I enjoy. I went on to explain that I have a very mixed musical taste, depending on what I’m doing at the time. When I am concentrating on writing the HTML for the website I tend to listen to classical music, the likes of Debussy, Bach, Saint-Saën, Rachmaninov and such, for other creative musings it might be general rock and pop of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s preferring proper good tunes to specific groups, but my absolute go to for pure enjoyment and mood uplifting and this was my driving music was…..

(When I was telling BFF this in a telephone call at this point she went “You didn’t!”, oh yes I absolutely did.)

…..heavy metal, not the main stream but the off main rib rattling proper deep metal.

And then it happened, the face freezes as the mind adjusts and computes, the eyes reveal that they had a completely different perception of you. The sweet little innocent young (not so now) ‘nice’ girl. Ohhhh Noooooo, I have a dark side. I am sarcastic, cynical, stubborn, feisty, questioning. My tastes are eclectic, I enjoy Shakespeare and Dickens, but also Red Dwarf and child animation movies; tv quizzes like Tipping Point or The Chase and will have a crack at Only Connect and University Challenge; films it’s more the grizzly horror or mystery than sweet romance. Musically it’s what takes my fancy.

In a recent online convo with my BFF about getting my hair cut, she suggested like Tinkerbell, to which I posted the suitably cute smiling face and she, knowing me exceptionally well, said no, more like…

Can you guess who posted which, lol.
 
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Posted by on June 14, 2020 in General, Life, people

 

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Destructive Anger Destroys

Over the past few days we’ve witnessed more and more global unrest and calls for changes along with recognition of how the black community has been systematically treated. The death of George Floyd, along with far too many other coloured people, in the USA is a tragic, horrific thing, but it has lit a fireball that might yet engulf thousands of more lives. It was a wrong action by that officer, others were wrong around him, that caused a death; and there have been similar actions by other officers in the past. Thankfully very very few in the UK compared to some educated countries, but nowhere is immune.

The Black Lives Matter movement has a wish (not using the word agenda, it has connotations) and in the twenty first century, forward thinking, prosperous West, you’d think we’d be able to get it right more than wrong.

Watching the marches, the protests, the taking the knee, it is a commendable grand gesture but how does it teach, enlighten or instruct. I am fully aware that these events contain a few hell bent on chaos and destruction and a few more who get polluted by the mob mentality, but I am yet to understand how defacing buildings, statues, plinths, memorials will teach, enlighten or educate.

Where do I learn the other side of the story without being branded a racist, a privileged white b*itch, or such like, or being shouted at “you’ll never understand coz you’re not black”. Violence, rage, destruction, aggressive language etc will not help change minds, or teach a better way, it will fuel the old assumptions and stereotypes. It will instil fear and anxiety.

There was a particular image that enraged me to utter gutteral wanton disgust … it made me so angry I wished true, long term harm upon another person. Here is that image.

This is the Cenotaph. It stands in Whitehall, London. There are only three words on it “The Glorious Dead” and we see someone trying to set fire to the Union flag. The Cenotaph is a memorial to all those who died in the World Wars, all those who enlisted, all those who volunteered, all those hundreds of thousands who were conscripted, from ALL nations of the Commonwealth (last time I checked that warmly, willingly, includes ethnic minorities). For the millions who fought, suffered, were injured, who died, defending and protecting many rights and freedoms people so quickly abuse today. This person saw fit to trample and abuse that – my cynical sarcastic mind wants to ask “Is it because the Portland stone is too white?”

So what will the consequences be, for me ….. Well, I’ll be blunt and honest, it will scare me. What if as I go to enter a door and don’t stop to let the ethnic person go first, am I about to be called racist. If I hold the door to let the ethnic person go first, am I exerting my white privilege. If I enquire for explanation or understanding about an opinion or action, am I being confrontational. I fully realise that not everyone is carrying that hair triggered chip on the shoulder but because so many do, how do I avoid getting snapped at, or flattened with a knee at my neck.

Dear World, I myself alone have no control on what happened during the past two-three hundred plus years or more. In that, I am powerless. I can only be responsible for my personal actions of the past five decades (and a smidge bit, very slim but more). I hope I have always been equally respectful and friendly to everyone I have ever encountered, for that is the best I can do.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2020 in In The News, Life, people

 

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Sensible or Sinister

I know I have to move home, but where to go and how to go about it, is a big scary slathering barking hell hound. Going from financial and roof-over-head security to not being so much so. There is a great deal to wrestle with.

Since about week three of lockdown isolation my mind has been racing to an idea, to go through every single item in my hovel and either sell it, donate it or bin it, keeping only a very few considered key items. I really do mean everything, every keepsake, gift, trinket, souvenir, ornament, memento, book, cd, dvd, photo album, crockery, cutlery, glassware, clothing, shoes, costume jewellery, hobby item, stationery item, tool, cuddly, pot, pan and dish. Slim everything down to only the necessary minimum. I have held onto things in order to feel connected to people, places, memories, times when I felt included, involved, almost necessary.

As I cannot move about to fetch things or return things, why keep them, is knowing something is in an inaccessible drawer any different to knowing I once had it. Why hold onto kits, cloths and silks when I’m never going to cross stitch anything again, why keep the pieces I’ve done that are sitting in the drawer, done to fill time. There are things in this abode that haven’t seen the light of day in 5-7-10+ years. There’s a box of vinyl records in the wardrobe that have been there 15-20 years, I don’t even know all the albums that are in there.

But I, myself, cannot do any of that. Someone else will have to lift and fetch and handle. Whether it be taking items to a Post Office to mail, or local refuse/recycling collection centre (7.5 miles away), or charity shops. Someone else will have to fill the recycling big or general waste bin. I might have the idea but others will have the execution.

With my increased deterioration I will need more equipment, power chair, manual chair, shower chair, hoists etc, all which need space to be kept ‘out of the way’.

Is this need a sensible preparation for the future (even maybe getting ones affairs in order, when that times comes), or is it a sign of something relating to mental health triggered by my changing circumstances and the weeks, months, of lockdown.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2020 in Life

 

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The Rot Set In

How are you? How are you managing in these trying of time? Have you started avoiding the news and social media reporting? Are you feeling the need to contact that friend in your phone book you haven’t seen or spoken to in decades? Have you tackled that oft put off job?

Day one-hundred-fifth-something of being at home for me … it feels like the rot has set in, I could twiddle some yarn, I should get to reading that book, I would feel better if I tackled a task or two but ……….. no excuse nor reason, just the arse cannot be bothered. I usually quarantine myself during winter, after all if there’s no need to go out in the yucky weather there’s less chance of catching cold which evolves to chest infections. The pandemic timing extended that, cancelled BFF’s visit and the high jinks we were planning, means an additional three+ months have been added.

I’ve had two letters regarding my health condition and CoVid19, one on behalf of my GP from the Clinical Commissioning Group stating I am “likely to feel unwell”, so that’s reassuring, unwell sounds light, like a hay fever sniffle. But the letter from the Neuromuscular Advisory Unit has said I am at “high risk of serious illness”, that sounds rather worrying, conjures images of tubes and machine beeps. I cannot get out, so I’m not at greater risk and my carers are diligent with their precautions.

I’ve enjoyed the access viewing, things like the Thursday night National Theatre productions being streamed on YouTube, I’d never be able to attend in person, so this opportunity has been relished. I’ve been totally engrossed in all of them, marvelling at the staging, the acting, the imagination, seeing productions I heard of but never seen, like Treasure Island, One Man Two G’vnrs, Frankenstein, Twelfth Night, Jane Ayre, Anthony & Cleopatra, Street Car Named Desire, next week The House. There has been the Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, Jesus Christ Superstar was outstanding. Various orchestras and musicians have been producing videos of performances, some quarantine themed, changing the words of known songs, some of performing classical pieces without the pomp and ceremony of the venues. Of course the small children or small pets interrupting has been amusing.

When this is over, what will we take away from it? There will always be selfish idiots, there will always be negative attacking media, there will always be unreported acts of kindness.

I sense a general mood change as I watch/listen to the vox poluli… an undertone of resentment and slight anger. Maybe it is the media bias but the consensus seems to be that Joe Ordinary doesn’t want his kids to go back to school but does want the pub to open … people jump in their car and drive to the beach and are shocked and surprised that five hundred or more had the exact same idea … persons in positions of knowledge and authority flout the rules and ignore the old time lead by example ethos.

As the aftermath of WW2 did for Churchill, will the aftermath do for Boris … will any politician or party truly be trusted and reliable in an era of PR and popularity over substance and commitment. Will I get out of my hovel this side of Christmas!!

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2020 in General, In The News, Life

 

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Confidence Wanes

I don’t know whether this is an age thing, a result in changed circumstances thing or a lock-down self-isolating thing but I can feel my confidence depleting, especially when interacting with another human.

A couple of things have happened this week that has highlighted this odd sensation. It’s home insurance time, I’ve been a tad lazy the past couple of years and just let it auto renew but I decided to grapple that particular bull and fudge about a couple of comparison sites and a few direct ones. I tapped in the data, took screen grabs of quotes, pondered and perused. When I go a hunting and the quote is considerably less I fine tooth comb because I must have forgotten or undervalued something, but no, the quotes were a lot lot less.

So after pondering some more and returning fresh eyed the next day I decided, okay time is up, I’m switching ……. then the stomach knotted and the throat clenched. That means telephoning the current provider to cancel. They’re going to question me, persuade me to stay, re-quote, make me doubt my decision, so with trepidation I dialled and was surprised that the chap was very pleasant, took me at my word, cancelled the renewal no quibble and wished me well! My fear was for nought.

Then it became necessary to bring to light something with my care agency. It involved the actions of a particular carer (don’t fret, it was not to my person, I am 100% well looked after). I knew I had to bring something to light but felt an incredible sense of responsibility, along side feelings of snitching, what I say could have a consequence to this person. Although justified, and necessary, it stuck in my throat (don’t worry folks, BFF put me in my place with love and a telling off, lol). I bit the bullet and emailed the office and the manager telephoned me and listened, letting me fully explain in my calm mannered way. I also said how I felt about talking like that and she understood my point of view, but also appreciated me telling what had happened. The matter is resolved and while I pang if I think too much, it was right and necessary to do so.

I can feel the dread rising when I think about having to telephone the dentist, or rearrange a hospital appointment (when we are through the pandemic situ). It’s not the same as reluctantly having to do something unpleasant, it is having to interact with another human and almost fretting over the curve ball they may lob.

I never used to be this way, I had reliable competence and ability.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2020 in Life, people

 

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CoVid-19

Well here we all are, being all cosy and shut in, some are out and about doing their essential duties and a huge THANK YOU to them all. It was been interesting watching the tv reports, media articles and social media reaction. Soo, what do we think of it so far.

Quick run down of the media v chief medical advisor advice. Official advice on the symptoms is …

  • Fever
  • Persistent dry cough

According to the media symptoms are

  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Loss of sense of taste
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach and intestine issues
  • Breathlessness
  • Headache
  • A dozen other unsubstantiated drivel 🙄

Then we have the behaviour versus the rules. Officially we have been told

  • Only go out to buy food or get medicines
  • Travel to/from work if it’s essential
  • Short exercise (maintaining social distance)

But what are people ‘actually’ doing? The majority seem to be able to follow the appropriate guidelines but, as ever, there is a selfish element in our society that ignored, flouted and even blatantly acting ridiculously.

There are horror stories of gangs gathering, of people spitting, of people acing out, punching, attacking anyone who crosses their actions. People have been selfishly stockpiling food and loo rolls, actively yanking out of others hands or filling three, four trolleys of items. It’s not actions driven by fear but by selfish greed, either to resell at hiked prices or do be smug.

AS FOR ME ….. I’m okay, I self isolate in January, February and March because I want to socially distance from the usual coughs and colds, so it’s just being extended. My Carers complete the four daily visits and I’ve been assured that as in most need I am a priority for continued care. I’ve enough in the cupboard to get me to my grocery delivery (might get a bit odd next weekend) but depending what they bring and whether I can book another slot *shrug* but Carers, neighbours and family have offered to shop.

Sadly, broken heartedly, brought to tears, my BFF has had to cancel her visit but she has rebooked for June. I hope some of these restrictions can be reduced before then.

When this is all over …. I am definitely having that bumper British breakfast delivered by a local diner – delayed deserved birthday bonanza.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2020 in In The News, Life, people

 

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Tick Box Engineering

I’m at it again. Another customer survey has dropped on my mat. This one a lot more properly put together than the previous poorly photocopied double sided single sheet job, this is a twenty page booklet.

As you can see, the choice of options for the various questions is rather well thought out and worded, with seven levels of perception. It went on to ask how I felt about particular situations in my personal circumstances.

However, it was the next question that let it down. It was “Does the service help you to achieve this” with a yes or no answer. I had a problem with this because I wanted a third option, so I could put “sometimes” or “to some degree”. Putting no, is not justified but putting yes seemed to give the impression that all was hunky dory.

As I got to the last page, I wondered whether I had been sent the survey in error, because the question asked whether I purchased additional care independently and how this was paid for. You see folks, I self-fund, I get zero financial assistance from any Council or Benefit. So cheekily I added a box to the set and added that.

Yes, I am a rebel!

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2020 in General, Review

 

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To License or Not To License…

I’ve been following the ‘debate’ on Twitter about the possible scraping of the BBC License Fee and making the BBC a subscription service. It’s been quite interesting weeding through the ignorant crap to find the intelligent comment. I have always felt that many people (myself included) don’t really know how far and where all the tendrils extend but I have also felt that like with any non-commercial cantered organisation, it is likely over staffed and mildly inefficient and archaic in its ways – and I think this is so with the BBC.

How people access their media entertainment has vastly changed, the style, genre and quality of media has dramatically changed – not all for the better. Statistics and research shows that the under 30’s are not sitting watching tv in general, or the BBC in particular, live as it airs but tending to pick and choose via the iPlayer on their smart tv’s and mobile devices. But they are still accessing BBC tv, however it is all the other branches of the organisation that are getting overlooked when people are questioned about it.

It stands to reason that people will only comment on the area of the corporation they access, that’s the only bit they know. So what of the BBC do I regularly access.

  • BBC tv, admittedly I don’t watch as much as I used to, but I do watch numerous dramas series whether it’s weekly ones like Holly City, serial dramas like Peaky Blinders, or one off dramas like the Christine Keeler story; several quiz shows fun ones like Richard Osman’s House Of Card and impossible ones like Only Connect; a lot of the tennis especially Wimbledon; and films. I watch things live as well as via the iPlayer.
  • BBC radio. I listen to The Archers each week, and often listen to panel games, comedies and dramas on BBC Sounds. I used to listen to BBC2 daily when I spent mornings at my desk but it’s a habit that has been broken. As a child it was the local BBC station we had on for news, weather, traffic, to hear if my school was closed on snow days, etc.
  • BBCNews. Generally I tend to avoid the news but I do tend to watch my local BBC programme most nights, and tend to catch the BBC headlines. I find the delivery (if not the content) less sensationalised. I will often peruse the website for info, but find the content dated compared to some news sites.

Making the BBC a commercially motivated business will have an impact on the quantity, quality and variety of out put. It was interesting to read via some tweets areas that didn’t immediately spring to mind, such as The Proms and national and local orchestra funding, children’s tv, the nature and history out put, local news and magazine interest reports both local tv and radio, the publications available, these kinds of areas that cannot stand alone as viable businesses but can collectively support each other.

What I didn’t realise until today was that about half of my license fee covers salaries and pensions – that is staggering.

What worries me is how any change would affect what’s freely available, how much content would be lost, how it will significantly narrow what is produced being lead by what cheap to make and easy to mass sell.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2020 in General, In The News

 

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Crushed Crushes

Scrolling through FaceBook I happened across a link to a podcast about Kirstin’s thoughts on teen crunches and her endeavour to re-purchase the vinyl of her youth. It was such an interesting story and I found her insights into the rites of passage of tweenie, teen, crushes on idols and how they have a place in shaping our future feelings. I heartily recommend the listen.

The podcast can be found at Records And “Celebrity Crush” Stories

I missed the whole posters on the wall crush thing of youth for a number of reasons. My exposure to pop music was incredibly limited by today’s standards. Although the radio was on in the kitchen every morning, it was the local BBC station and more to do with news, weather and traffic reports. The radio was not on in the car on any journey, whether into town or off to holiday at relatives hours away. I didn’t have a radio or Hi-Fi of my own, in my room until I was thirteen, and I was rarely in my room.

Top Of The Pops was on every Thursday for half an hour and sometimes artists would chat and perform on tv shows like Des O’Connor, Wogan, Val Doonican, etc. I didn’t get to browse record shops or devour every printed pixel of magazines. Living in a rural village, a few miles from anyone near my age (or school) so I didn’t have the interaction with others to discuss, swap, swoon and so forth over pop groups and singers.

Sometimes when visiting an Aunt and Uncle my cousin would have a few lp’s he was happy to pass on to me (I’m sure I still have some). These were treasured items, revered and prized, because he was so cool, so modern and with it, being so much older than me.

Listening to Kristin was interesting, hearing her describe this electrifying tingle of something towards a face they’d never likely get to see in person, let alone get to know properly. Yet somehow this crush seems to be a method of mentally experiencing a fresh emotion, a dry run of recognising and learning the beginnings of attraction when seeking a potential life mate. As we get older, the crush item of our tween years becomes ‘uncool’ or ‘child-like’, as we progress to edgier, cooler, icon. Discarding such follies as we go and grow before looking back nostalgically and reminiscing about those feelings.

What is also interesting, as I scroll about particular Facebook groups and pages, there are some 50+, 60+ year olds still behaving all squealy girly over an image of their teenage crush, as if they were both still in their mid-teens.

Music seems to be the only art form that sparks such reaction. Few have the same swoon like devotion to an artist, sculptor, actor, writer etc. Maybe because music is something that involves the whole of the brain and roots into our psyche in so many ways.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2020 in Life

 

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