RSS

Tag Archives: people

2019

To say that 2019 has been an absolute horrid catastrophic year would be a cavernous understatement. Never at the beginning could I have foreseen the end, nor the hell in between.

I usually feel odd at the end of any given year. Many see it as a fresh page, the new beginning, the marker to strive forward. I just see it as another day, no different to the 31st, 17th or 4th. However, I’m not ready to let go of 2019, I don’t want to let go of what’s been lost. 2020 will be the first year without my Big Sis, and I am way far being ready for that. 2020 will be a year of more forced change and adapt as I try and find somewhere new to live and all the fraught difficulties that brings.

BFF and I are already planning some fun, hopefully when she visits we will over night in the city and revisit some old haunts and enjoy some reminiscent foods. I’ll still be crocheting blankets when the strive strikes. There are online projects to get stuck in to and ongoing business to fit in. I should get back to nightly reading.

Still, it will be what it will be and hopefully we are all still here by the end of it.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 30, 2019 in General, Life

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Bah Humbug and I’m okay with that

Christmas is not a spectator sport. It takes thought, planning, work, effort and getting actively involved to get stooped in the jolly spirit. Well this year it’s just not happening for me and I am perfectly okay about that.

For the past two or three years it has been harder and harder to get into the festive goings on. I witness the females around me getting ever more anxious and stressed as they try and pull together all their plans, find gifts, get them wrapped and delivered, there’s the festooning and bedecking of trees and rooms, the cards and letters, the grocery list and fretting over culinary creations. Increasingly as my physical health weakened I was unable to actively help and felt like I was adding to the to-do’ list.

TV and films portray this idyllic notion of gathering families, all smiles, full of good cheer, games are played, perfect nibbles appear, and everything is rosy and wonderful. The extended table laden with delicious delights, succulent roasts and colourful veg drizzled with shining gravy. This glamourised vision sets an impossible bench mark that many desperately try to reach or exceed.

It’s incredibly difficult to explain, because to many it seems unnatural to not get involved with the seasons traditions, but as I said, I’m okay with it. There are reports about visiting someone on their own, or those alone at Christmas, but I do not, in any way, feel like I am missing out.

On Boxing Day I will spend several hours with my very nearest and dearest, the kiddies will have loads to tell and show me and I will love hearing all about it, Neph & Niece will have delicious delights to nibble and I will enjoy the treats I never get to indulge in. And that will be more than enough.

Not everybody on their own is lonely, not everybody alone feels like they are missing out.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 17, 2019 in Life

 

Tags: , , ,

Fair Winds Following Seas – Farewell Friend

I’m saying good bye to another old friend, a tangible piece of my life’s adventure.

The Jubilee Sailing Trust operates two tall ships that are designed to accommodate many forms of disability, not only things like deafness and sight impaired, but also stroke victims, amputees, wheelchair users and mental health sufferers. We are all involved within the watch rota to sail the ships and keep them shipshape. Across her thirty year history STS Lord Nelson known as “Nellie”, has circumnavigated the globe, chased icebergs, clipped the Bermuda Triangle, tamed the China Seas, she has raced as part of the tall ship fleets and been the floating ambassador and has touched hundreds of thousands of mixed ability lives for the better.

A family friend passed a brochure to me in the eighties and I had toyed with the idea of running away to sea, so when Nellie visited my home port I secretly took myself off, explored her and spoke to a volunteer crew member, over a mug of hot tea and freshly baked cake we chatted, mused, discussed and laughed. After that I made up my mind to throw myself fully into this once-in-a-lifetime-never-to-repeat adventure and booked a four-week passage from Southampton to Gran Canaria via Lisbon.

The experience was nerve wracking, exhilarating, daunting, engaging, challenging, educational, but filled with hilarity, congeniality, and above all else, equality. We were just a bunch of people sailing together. I enjoyed myself so much that I repeated the experience another two times on Nellie before my last voyage on the sister ship Tenacious. The atmosphere and camaraderie onboard is indescribable and so special. It’s where I learnt to tie a bona fide hangman’s noose, take down the shipping forecast, complete obs for the Met Office. I’ve hauled ropes, peeled potatoes, polished brass, coiled ropes, swabbed decks, scrubbed toilets, pulled ropes, brewed tea, repaired flags, and messed about with ropes. I’ve been man handled, hauled, shoved, shifted, and tied down, I’ve laughed until I cried and cried until I laughed; I’ve helmed, watched, hauled, radioed, taught navigation rhymes, learnt a bewildering language of terms and created a few specific to Nellie and many other such useful/less life skills. I even have a qualification, the Department of Transport Steering Competency (sailing) Certificate from time at the helm before the mast. I’ve made friends I still keep in touch with. I’ve had conversations and shared experiences (like being at the helm when we were struck by lightning, playing with dolphins, counting shooting stars). There are anecdotes galore, not all repeatable in polite company.

Recently the Trust has been forced to look hard at its future running. A promised significant donation from a business source failed to materialise resulting in the Trust nearly folding (we raised £1 million in a week to save it). Subsequently the decision has been sadly made to decommission Nellie.

I kept a detailed diary, my (dis)abled seapersons twig (as opposed to captains log) for two of my voyages are on my website www.amgroves.com It’s on my list to add the others.

It is unknown what her next adventure will be, but I wish her fair winds and following seas, as we salty dog types say; and another piece of my heart is broken and another tear will fall.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on October 11, 2019 in In The News, Life, people, Projects, Website

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Fun No More (until April)

I’ve been wonderfully distracted for the past two glorious weeks, BFF has been to play, stay, I meant stay. … and this time it was greatly needed by us both. Finally after all the stress, anxiety and sorrow attached to so many happenings I could cry my heart out and get physical console. But all too soon, the suitcase is being zipped up and it’s that dreadful time to try and hold the stiff upper lip and say ttfn.

Pre arrival plans had been put in place, a few DVD’s were ordered, two mahoosive boxes had arrived with the neatest of handwriting upon them (more wool to add to the packed suitcase stash) and the dozen bottles of cherry cola added to the grocery order.

We may both be in our golden years, but you’re never too old for a PJ party, and that’s what we do. It’s not all indulgent fun, there were chores and errands done too, the dentist visit with deep deeeep clean and the annual hospital appointment with my neurologist (test results, blood pressure, heart rate all ‘normal’, never thought that word would be attached to me). I supervised while BFF cleared out, sorted, organised my kitchen cupboards (nothing last century lurking in the dark corners), general tidy up of the bathroom and lounge, the resort and reorganising my bedroom draws and I feel sorted, organised, prepared for carers and helpers, etc.

We’ve mooched up and down my High Street, been back and forth to Morrison’s for eats and treats, sat outside enjoying the sun and breeze, took an afternoon stroll along the esplanade and I, yes me, suggested a ice-cream (it was lush), we even went to the cinema to see Downton Abbey (rather good).

Mostly we snoozed, nattered, laughed, chatted, rested, and watched stuff

  • Last Viceroy House
  • Mad Men Season 6 and 7
  • The Green Book
  • Trumbo
  • Edie
  • A Cat Named Leonard
  • Norma Rae
  • Pursuit Of Happyness
  • My Old Lady
  • The Favourite
  • Colette
  • Don’t Eat The Daisies
  • The Right Stuff
  • Spotlight
  • The Girl On The Train
  • Billy Rose’s Jumbo
  • Glass Bottom Boat
  • Man With A Horn
  • To Kill A Mockingbird

Of course the REAL prime reason for being together is a certain four legged furred charmer, known as Mickey, aka #NotMyCat, wandering in when he pleases, playing with his new toys, choosing one of the many seats to snooze upon, getting head rubs and chin scritches galore.

Three quarters of an hour ago we hugged, smiled, said “call you tomorrow”, and off she goes ……… just 199 days to go until we’re back together *fingers-crossed*

Thank you BFF for being everything I need and a heck of a lot more, words are not enough to convey all you do for me, help me, cajole me, entertain and help me.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2019 in Films, General, Life, people, Pets

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Letter Of Loss

Dear Big Sis,

It’s been a month already, but it’s been a lot longer since I last saw you. Wednesday July 3rd you left my flat early to go home as you weren’t feeling good, you were due to go on a short holiday on Saturday, but you ended up coming home early and the next day you were taken into hospital. I never got the opportunity to visit you, to spend any time with you, to have a conversation with you, we only had one brief interrupted crackly phone call.

Sitting here I am scanning for something of you to focus on, your black gillet often discarded to the kitchen chair, your wooden posh pen, anything tangible to state you were here but there isn’t anything. I see the numerous holiday gifts you brought with me in mind, I see the soft tigger you gave me one Christmas, I see the curtains and carpets you helped me choose when I moved here, tonight I’ll snuggle under the duvet set you bought for me, and so many more other things, but it’s not enough, it’s not you.

I flick through photograph after photograph, but there are so few of you, I have the one of you and me on your wedding day. That’s my earliest firm memory, aged five in the pretty pink dress, jumping out the front door as my cousins arrived, walking into church behind you, following you around the reception until we had that photo taken. Remember I told you, you could get married so long as you never left home. I remember staying at your house and the two cats deciding they would guard me all night by one sleeping between my knees and the other beside my head. I remember telling you a dirty joke, I was about twelve and as embarrassed as hell when you made me repeat it to your hubs. The Sundays we’d play cards, black jack, rummy, or Trivial Pursuit which turned into a mime game with help from ‘the audience’. More recently our trips out, to be holidaymakers instead of those working for holidaymakers. Our London trips, sitting in Westminster Abbey, walking around the Tower of London, being in awed during the Houses of Parliament Tour, being at the BBC Studios. Our world to rights conversations, watching programmes I’d recorded for us to enjoy, the evenings of dvd and take-away, reminiscing of our mutual work places and people. The planning and strategising around birthdays and Christmas. So very much, but still, it’s not you.

Your reflections funeral was beautiful. You’ll never know how many people were eager to travel so many miles to have paid respects to you. We did as you wanted, told them to spend a moment reflecting, smiling, remembering. It was tearful, emotional, especially when your boy stood and placed those two single white roses from the grands, one with T-bods best handwriting and the other a special drawing by mini-me, and the darling little pink elephant (that looked so much like the pink paraffin mascot) they won on their holiday. I knew you were so incredibly proud of your boy, his wife and family, how they are as a team instilling manners, love and boundaries with the grands, how they are trying their very best to keep things right.

I miss you so very much, I am forever changed, lost in many ways. I am empty.

 
7 Comments

Posted by on August 26, 2019 in people

 

Tags:

Big Sis, the biggest loss

I was not yet prepared to have to say the following. My Sister died Friday 26th, at 5am.

Last October she had an emergency op to remove two tumours from the edge of her brain (we joked she’d had her marbles removed) little knowing there was a lung tumour. She recovered well and had radiation treatment before commencing immunotherapy in February. She had been responding well despite a few issues.

A little over three weeks ago she was suddenly lethargic and severely dehydrated and admitted to hospital where they discovered she had infections. While there were signs of slow improvement on Thursday she suddenly deteriorated and died within moments of her hubs and son arriving.

The impact of this has not fully hit me yet, on top of the recent changes in my personal circumstances 2019 is not being kind to me and my nearest.

Give a loved one, even if it’s your dog or cat, a hug and recall a pleasant memory.

I will be okay.

I’ve spent the past few days dealing with the bureaucracy of death, going through the emails, unsubscribing from lists, shutting down online shopping accounts. Amazon is a nightmare! Make sure you have your partners email password and account password because there are numerous hoops to get tangled up with. Getting the contact details on utility bills and insurances switched to hubs details. Answering question after question over what’s to be done in accordance with her wishes.

Timing of life is tricky, today is her grand daughters 4th birthday.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 30, 2019 in people

 

Tags: ,

The Other PostCode Lottery

With having different people visit my hovel recently I’ve found myself having very similar conversations. Firstly it’s “I didn’t know these flats were here, how long have you lived here?” (27 years) and after a brief surprised silence I add “it’s okay the Royal Mail don’t know These flats are here either”.

You see a frequent occurrence happened again and this time (again) I began an official complaint about it with Royal Mail. I had ordered some clothing from a High Street store via their online site, carefully added my postcode and ding up popped the correct address in full. On Friday last week the PostPerson ‘tried’ to deliver it, my usual Postie knows to try the door when there’s a packet and leave it on my desk, but Friday must be his day off. What made it increasingly annoying was the red card shoved through the door was discovered as my primary care person was leaving, she looked at the time and remarked “I was here at 10:40 I never heard a knock” nor had I and to add salt she added “I was in here (the lounge, window beside front door) I would have seen him”.

Hmph …. blessed redelivery needed.

I went to the redelivery web page and tapped in my postcode and hit the ‘find address’ button, annddd my address does not appear, my street does not appear, my town does not appear! According to the proper official Royal Mail my street name is really my building name, the street is the street my road joins, and my town doesn’t warrant a mention. I took screen grabs of the errors and then manually added my address. Thankfully when Postie delivered on Monday it was my usual Postie and he brought the parcel in.

Twenty Seven years and ‘still’ the Royal Mail cannot get it right with the postcode they issued to my street.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on July 11, 2019 in Grumble, Life

 

Tags: , , , , , ,