I’ll be glad when the week ends.I didn’t anticipate that work would be easy, but it has been more of a strain than I thought. Just getting there each morning has seemed a major achievement. This morning two occasional workers came in. Unknowing of my situation, one of them began to talk about how dental problems could lead to dementia. They both laughed and expressed horror. I sat mute and tried not to cry. It felt like they were being disrespectful of Mother. They weren’t, but that’s how it felt. I was reminded of Maria’s comment about wearing black to remind others that you might not be quite normal, maybe a bit touchy, a bit vacant. I wanted an armband.
Correction: I want an armband. Continue reading
The other day someone asked me if I felt relieved that Mother had died. It’s a fair question and I discussed it with Aunt last night. In the long run, I am sure we will feel some sense of relief. The knowledge that Mother is not going to decline further, is not going to descend to a state of unknowingness where we cannot connect with her, is not ever going back to hospital, that she died peacefully, yes these things will be a relief. But at the moment neither of us is feeling that.
Aunt describes it as a big dark space. I am still wrapped in grey fog much of the time. While Mother lived, I knew where she was, had a picture in my mind of her at the home when I wasn’t with her. Now, she isn’t. I can imagine her ashes in the drum that matches her coffin, residing with the undertaker until such time as we can arrange for Dad’s ashes to be exhumed so that we can scatter them together, but where is Mother? Maybe that’s why the video continues to play in my head while I try to locate her. Continue reading
So there I was, a hurried lunch eaten and washed up, settling to my list of chores while I waited for the arrival of the wonderful washing machine. I checked my emails. The first, which I shall keep for the moment made me smile rather mistily. I shall come back to it. The second was from the supplier of the washing machine to tell me delivery was cancelled.
My credit card people had queried the sale. I knew this already. They had checked with me. They had alerted the supplier. The supplier, despite the fact that I placed my order by ‘phone, says an email was sent to me a week ago asking for confirmation of my order. That email did not arrive. Had notice of the cancellation been received earlier I might have been able to still get my machine today.
I was not happy. I called the supplier. I have to reorder. On my order, which has to wait until tomorrow as I am told I can ask for forty-eight hour express delivery and I can’t avail myself of it until Friday, in bold capital letters, will be instructions to call me, not email me, if there is any further query.
What really annoys me is that I could have been nicer to the man on the ‘phone. Anyway.
The first email was from the cattery and contained a short message and two pictures. Behold here Odysseus, now renamed George, getting to grips with his new environment.
George at Home
My lovely lazy day did not, alas, result in a good night’s sleep. My dreams were troubled and I heard Big Ben strike three, then the quarters round to four. So I am bit heavy eyed today, and planning a very early night. Normally at this time of year that would seem a complete waste of a light evening, but today the sun has struggled to make itself felt through dull cloud. Global warming again resulting in our spring being lacklustre.
I have a double reason for wanting sunshine over the rest of the week. My new washing machine arrives tomorrow sometime between two and nine pm. When I got home two weeks ago after Mother died, my current machine achieved one reluctant wash. An engineer came to look at it a week later and declared it defunct. My neighbour Carol has kindly been letting me use her machine, but I am looking forward to have my own again, and to drying the laundry on the line outside. I have far too much for it all to fit on the ceiling airer. My last two machines were washer driers, but I seldom used the driers. Maybe half a dozen times, so this time the budget has been for a washer only, and I have gone for a Miele. Are you impressed? Surprised? I am. Coo get me; buying the Rolls Royce of home laundry machines. I had been advised, by the engineer, to get a German made Bosch, or a Miele if I could afford it. A trawl through the reviews decided me that a Miele was worth years of lentil eating. I like lentils so I’d be eating them anyway. Frugality has its advantages, as does a vegetarian diet. Continue reading
I have had a wonderfully lazy day. It was just what I needed. Rest, relaxation and abandonment of chores. At the end of the afternoon I took my camera and went out for a walk, meeting, by chance, first a very friendly black and white cat, then my good neighbour Carol and her dog Rosie. Continue reading
When my dad died I couldn’t read or take photographs. I am experiencing the same problem now. But today I hyave had a breakthrough. This Iris in the garden was so stunning I had to get my camera and photograph it. It may not be the best photo, but it is an important watershed.
So still with camera in hand, I took a few pix of flowers in our garden.
As luck would have it, I was booked in to attend the Reader Organisation conference today in London. I spoke about this organisation at Mother’s funeral yesterday, explaining why it is one of the two chosen charities we are asking people to donate to in her memory. The other one is Pets as Therapy. I didn’t expect to see anyone I knew, which was foolish, because of course the facilitator from the Get Into Reading group I have attended twice was there. She was one of the first people I saw when I went to the coffee and second breakfast spot.
I was wishing more and more that I could swap my first workshop for the one on dementia, when I saw the reports on the work the Reader Organisation has done with people living with dementia sitting on a table. I picked up two copies; one for me, one to drop into the home where Mother was living.
There was an opening session in the auditorium. I took a seat, and then saw Sandra, a local storyteller and member of our poetry group walking up the central aisle. I caught up with her at the coffee break. Her sister died in the autumn, and both of us had been tripped up by a reading about a boy who had lost his mother.
We were in the same group after the break. My emotions sloshed about in that one too, and then it was lunchtime. Another member of my local Get Into Reading group turned up. She is interested in joining the poetry group, so I introduced her to Sandra, and watched them bond.
After lunch there was a fascinating talk about how our brains respond to poetry, and how in particular they respond to functional shifts; nouns used as verbs, adverbs as nouns and so on. Shakespeare was fond of this, and today helped explain why some of his phrases catch us and spin our imaginations as they do. But I was amazed that reading poetry results in increased activity in all parts of our brains.
We were very well fed all day. Despite the fact I was interested in the talk, I could happily have had a mid-afternoon nap, but it was on tothe next seminar.
The whole day was about the strength of shared reading, of building communities around shared reading; using reading to make connections with people, to improve health and wellbeing. Continue reading