Monthly Archives: January 2013

An inspiring ‘phone call

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which makes a change.

It was from a friend of ours I shall call him John.  He has had such a difficult life.  Father died when he was 5yrs. old, mother becomes an alcoholic, younger brother a nice boy but with emotional problems. John from an early age became the carer of the family.   And I’m afraid our wonderful caring society helped him very, very little.

But he survived plus he gradually carved out a career for himself (he was offered a place for a degree in mathematics but just couldn’t afford to accept) and still cared for his difficult mother and brother.  OK move on a few years he marries and he and his wife produce a beautiful son.  By this time he has his own home and a good job and his mother and brother have moved so they are nearby. Then his mother dies and although after all she has put John through he really grieves his loss.  And by what John has told me she did seem to appreciate what a great son he had been and he always found good things to say about her. But she was still drinking hard to the end. That left his now very confused but likable brother. Grossly overweight and inclined to booze, hadn’t worked for years, lost his identity and any sense of self worth.  And now his mother had died, his sense of reality diminishes even further.

There is now a year to 18 months of confusion, false information, infact lies told to John by his brother and others who were insistent he was in good hands and doing OK.  By this time the brother had moved back to the town the boys and mother had gone to after his father died – this was 300 miles from where John lived (and his brother had previously lived with his mother). John and his wife were also expecting a second child by this time. He was still in contact with his brother but there were other people (friends?) with much more influence over his brother and his meagre income.  Eventually John gets a call saying his brother is in hospital after being found in the river trying to commit suicide after drinking a bottle of bleach. From then on it is all downhill John is backwards and forwards trying to find out what is happening to his poor deluded brother.  John offers to take his brother home many times but he won’t  come.  And in the end he dies from the diet of chemicals prescribed by the doctors who care (?) for him.

John was devastated.   And then very angry.   Because all the time John was trying to get answers to questions about his brothers treatment from the doctors/nurses/carers he was fobbed off and made to feel like an interfering nuisance who had no rights to know about what was happening to this person whom he had loved and cared for all his life.  So John sat down and detailed everything that had happened with dates and times.  It was meticulously written, revised and scrutinised.  It was an obsession.  For ironically although life had given John the hardest most unfair start, he is one of kindest, sweetest, fairest man you could ever meet. And this end to his dear brothers life was wrong and very unfair.  And however hard you try to excuse mistakes and lack of communication etc.etc. there were people in authority who knew what was going on, who could have changed his brothers final years who could have CARED and infact were paid to care and use their expertise to improve a life not kill it.

Over the following months we would talk on the ‘phone and he would tell me about what he was trying to do and all I could do was listen and applaud him for his mission.  The document ended up 21 pages long and he sent it to me to read.   Initially when I saw the length I’m ashamed to say my heart dropped but once I started reading this clear, concise passionate account of the events leading to his brother death I wept. It was so cruelly wrong that anyone should be treated as Johns brother was treated and by normal everyday people supposedly doing there job. John had over the months told me all that had happened to his brother but reading it so clearly and concisely really shocked me.  And this had happened (and I fear is still happening) to the defenseless in our society.  Even though the victim in this tragic story had someone who really cared about him, really loved him, those in authority ignored John and what he could offer.

Then on Thursday night John rang.  His document has not only been acknowledged but been taken seriously as an important statement of FACTS.  A certain politician has picked up on it, the police and the other authorities involved are now taking Johns complaints seriously. And believe me John will not go away. Thank goodness for the Johns of this world who don’t just moan and weep but use all that negative energy to try and right a wrong, to really try and make a difference.

I have just read through this account and it does not do justice to this young mans story. Because through all his struggles and believe me they started from the age of 5yrs. he has survived a wholesome, intelligent, CARING, humorous character. John really is worth listening to. His 21 paged document is honed from real pain, real love and real experience and is just packed with lean, hard and very emotionally charged FACTS. And that is frightening and depressing.

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having a clear out ….. of the mind

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I suppose it all started with my first major trip by bus. Last week as the tail of the festive season slipped away (thank goodness!) I was left feeling strangely lost with this shiny new year ahead, waving at me with lots of exciting possibilities. But my head just felt woolly and refused to open up. So on Saturday I got the earliest bus to Inverness and went to the booking office to see where I could go. Edinburgh was the first choice and the next thing I knew I was on the Megabus (!) with a pack of sandwiches, a drink, my wonderful Kindle and we were off. The day had it ups and downs but the important thing was I’d done it. I walked my feet off – and feel a renewed acquaintance with an old acquaintance. The bus broke down coming home (much to the drivers annoyance, he was so concerned for us all and his request for another bus wasn’t picked up for at least 20/30 minutes so we were sitting around for 1 hour) but I still got my connection to home. And all in all it was a great success. The visit was totally unstructured and the hardest bit was going to the Museum of Modern Art where I felt the lose of Colins company very acutely. But all has to be faced and dealt with and it gave me that little shove I needed.

It was as I was walking the dog and planning and thinking of my days ahead that I realized how much ‘junk thoughts’ I have accumulated over the years. And the trouble with unstructured, maverick thoughts they tangle and knot and get in the way of clear thinking. So I will be going through my books and tidy my bedroom and sort out the CD’s and, and, and……then there is the garden but I will also not allow these useless junk bits floating about in my mind to clutter up my thinking. There is going to be a lot of DELETE button pushing for those and then when I think well maybe…I will insist YES I do want to delete these FOREVER.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Just finished this sweater after quite a few adaptions but feel its now OK. Its knitted in machine washable Merino wool which I love its warm and soft. I use this 4 ply yarn for scarves, gloves, jackets and jumpers a lot and also the fine 1 ply Merino wool for bright coloured basically long sleeved vests. It makes the winter much more b(w)earable!  Sorry I think I need my dinner.

I just looked at a preview of this blog and why the top paragraph is in red I have no idea!  Help!

2013 or 0123 ….. and cake

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…. a real New Year that turns into numerical basic –  for what?  My maths is  pretty basic but serves my needs.  When I’m designing a new garment I am continually counting. adding, dividing, multiplying then subtracting the figure I first thought off etc. etc. No this little twist of numbers is saying to me don’t clutter your life, keep it simple, be honest with yourself, be kind, be  industrious (mentally and physically). Life really is what you make it – so make it heathy, happy and productive.  May your New Year be all you would like it to be.

On Saturday it was grey and grim, with a blustery cold wind delivering slanting rain. The dog refused a walk.  It was bad.  But perfect for turning up the music and making  Fondant Fancies.  I used to, in the past, buy them in a cardboard box made by a Mr Kipling but they always looked more yummy than they tasted.  So after seeing Mary Berry showing us all how to do IT I had to have a go. Under cooked the sponge. In a perfect world it needed another 4 minutes but I have a tendency to go and start doing something else and the perfect 4 minutes turns into a catastrophic 30 minutes or simply the smell of burning.  Also I dislike dry cakes so out came the sponge and although in the centre it wasn’t light and fluffy it was OK. Everything else went fine – except I should have remember when putting the butter icing round the edges of each little cake I made it as smooth as possible AND trimming the outside edges so they are straight is important so each cake stands up properly.  At this point I realised we would never eat 25 cakes so I froze 12.   Then came the tricky bit – the fondant icing.  I managed to get it a good consistency and coloured half  with raspberry juice.  The next bit is just plain messy.  I did the fork in the side bit and sort of held it above the bowl of icing and spooned the icing over the top and then round the sides.  I really believe its one of those jobs you find your own way of dealing with it.  Just accept it is messy (and it really puts you off icing!). Then I dribbled chocolate on the white ones and the white icing on the pink and ‘Voila’ some quite nauseous (by this time I’d had enough) looking little cakes.  I had to taste one and I thought it was quite nice.

But on Sunday I tidied them up round the base and put them on a plate and felt much prouder of them. I have to say they definitely improved with keeping – the icing firmed up and the cake inside stayed very moist and all the flavors blended.  And the Monday tasting was when I really thought they were delicious and worth the effort.  I could never make them perfectly and I don’t think Mary Berry would be too impressed but the flavours were excellent.

 fancy a fondant fancies?

fancy a fondant fancies?