Tag Archives: Friends

the problems of timerich

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is I cannot bear to waste it. As I have always worked this longed for space is now mine.  And I love it.

last veg bed to finish weeding

last veg bed to finish weeding

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FINISHED!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The great thing of having a job or business is the structure it imposes.  Children  impose a structure (oh those school holidays, free days, half terms, etc).  And mostly these structures are great because you enjoy the job/business/children and the spaces in between servicing all these demands allow for a bit of self indulgence.  Of course its a different scenario if you hate your job/failing with the business/and all is stress,stress,stress. BUT I’m not going down that very different and difficult route. For a start all jobs can be boring at times, businesses need constant attention and families are always fired through with patches of difficulty so stress, anxiety, fear is always lurking around even the most seemingly ‘perfect’ lives.

My life is now structured by self indulgence because although cash not-so-rich my days are MY days.  WOW how wonderful!  And it is.  and of course it isn’t.  Because the only person who is now in control is me.  I don’t mind me but  oh the imperfections glow like so many night flies flitting to and fro as the sky turned inky black.  Push too little and I fritter and do nothing.  Push too hard – exhausted – leading to frustration at my own inabilities etc. etc. Tiredness feels wonderful when all has gone well and the weariness deserved. But I am slowly starting to recognise my new strengths and accepting (and forgiving) my limitations.

Do you want to be my friend?

Do you want to be my friend?

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Who on earth is he?

I am now on facebook (faceless of course).  What an extraordinary faceless world it is. An enormous mass of  people who know someone you know and might want/will/maybe become my friend!  But all this twitter and facebook has a strange emptiness about it.  Hours can disappear into a very fragile communication.  I realise as I write this I haven’t yet found my way of using it as a useful communication tool or if I ever will.   My life would be much harder and lonelier without the use of my computer.  It has opened me up to so many possibilities within my scope and taken me out of my scope and either confirmed lurking ideas or shocked me out of complacency.  Plus I can always browse through eBay for the hidden gems!  Thats entertainment. So I am not dismissive of the world wide web of communication just feel the information one can glean can leave one feeling a bit empty.  You can never replace a really good conversation with another human  eye ball to eye ball – I’m sure Skype is better than nothing but its not the same.  And what really concerns me is there is an instinctive feel to those live conversations.  Body movements, hand gestures, tone of voice, spaces between sentences even words and the look in the eye.  And when all goes well the warmth between you.  Just genuine caring warmth. And if it doesn’t go well the sheer relief of escape!  So I suppose as long as we understand the limitations of facebook/twitter/blogs/’e’mail and that they will NOT and cannot replace genuine one to one contact, its a great way to keep in touch – if we really want to!!!!!

Treat of the week – listening to Maureen Lipman being interviewed on BBC3 Essential Classics at 10.30am. Dig and weed then coffee and toast then back to dig and weed. Pretty good, ah!

Just a thank you.

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on Sunday Jacqui turned up.  Its always a joy to see her face AND she had bought me two delicious pieces of  jewellery  which I love.

This young woman came into my life sometime in November 2006.  My husband was having radio therapy after being diagnosed with cancer in the spring and after some very severe chemotherapy which hadn’t cleaned out the tumor.  This whole period had left us both drained, in total shock and completely lost like thousands of others who have been through the experience or are now just starting the journey that is hell on earth.   Through one of those throw away remarks I’d been put in touch with an advisor who dealt with benefits.  I really had no idea what it was all about but nothing really mattered very much except my darling husband and me being strong and trying to cope with everything.  The new language that accompanies serious illness is frightening and most of the time you really don’t know what people are talking about.  ‘Well, just question’, I hear you say.  But what questions?  All you hear is cancer and its a rare one and its in his brain.  Where do you start?  You just trust the experts know the language and will do their best.  But for them its routine. For the punters however its like being shoved inside a tumble drier and thrown round and round never really understanding anything that relates to the life they understand. That is their previous life.

So here we are Colin and I clinging to each other after months of treatment.  Grateful that we could still be together.  And in comes Jacqui.

Jacqui was part of the Macmillan Benefit team or something like that.  She was neat quite small with short flicky hair and a real smiley face.  A funky dresser.  I liked her style.  I recognized or felt a breath of fresh air.  But she was carrying a huge brief case  so she was official.

From that initial meeting which was memorable because I understood the questions and she seemed quite satisfied with the answers we slowly became friends.  Everything she said she would do, with no fuss and no bother to us.  I could actually talk to her about what was happening to Colin and my role in this drama.  The word carer was now applied to me and Jacqui helped me understand what that really meant.  All day everyday forever into the unknown future.  Jacqui was always there either on the end of a demented ‘e’ mail from me or a delightful visit from her.

By March 2007 our hospital visits had finished and a new dilemma loomed.  Our business was failing seriously and bankruptcy was facing us.  I was overwhelmed with paperwork, with caring for Colin and a very frightening future.  And here is where Jacqui for all her neat frame, stood very tall and strong  and just calmly held my hand and said ‘You can do it, there is a way through”.

And she was absolutely right we hung in their and by January 2008 we had cleared the debts, sold the business and kept our home.  The part Jacqui played in all this was monumental.  When I was struggling she would come over and we’d go over the problems and find a solution,  She would take on certain difficult areas so we never got clogged up.  All the time being thoughtful, sensitive and kind and every now and then we even found time to laugh.   Jacqui was/is always smiley but never sentimental, always positive but never strident, always thoughtful but never judgmental, always caring but never controlling.

Last year February 23 2012 my beloved Colin died.  He was at home and my son and I had be able to care for him ourselves which was exhausting but incredibly rewarding.  Through all the years between 2008 and his death Jacqui was a very welcome visitor, helping me keep an open mind on life and its vagaries.  I would have lost my way so many, many times without knowing Jacqui was there to gently nudge me onwards.

And now it is Just Me floundering around in my little world.  But Colin left me very upright, full of his love and strength.  My walls are covered in his fabulous artwork and there is much for me to achieve through the inspiration of his work.  So I am lucky.  AND I have come to know and care deeply for Jacqui who has so many qualities and abilities that she shared so generously with Colin and I.  I know we are not the only ones touched by her caring work but I feel very grateful  that I can now count her as a real friend.

Jacqui picked me up and dusted me down so many times I now know what that big brief case really held – her instinct, her heart ,her humour plus a lot of intelligence  used positively.  She is person to cherish and I do.

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.

boxing day blues…….

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I had no idea the Christmas rollercoaster had flatten me  – in fact late  last night I was feeling pretty pleased with myself – I wasn’t drunk, I didn’t feel too bloated, I’d seen some good (recorded) programmes on TV.  This was a Christmas I really struggled with and it was over. So good job done, pat on the back and off to bed.

But that was yesterday and this is today Boxing Day (please leave me in the box and close the lid).  Why? I have no idea.  Outside is a perfectly clear blue sky, underfoot the ground is still hard with frost.  In fact now I think about it the perfect Boxing Day weather.  But my spirits are tired and I can only think the reason being I was so concerned about getting ‘through’ Christmas that all my energy has been drained.

But I know someone who will drag me up and out.  The dog.  My faithful friend chosen by my husband in 2008 ‘to keep you company  after I’ve died’.  Not much of a substitute I thought miserably  but actually he is a wonderful companion.  I talk and he listens, I cry and he says not a word but carries on with his pursuits,  then he does something daft and I laugh.  I am still alive to feel and think and react and slowly, slowly my grief is finding its place in my psyche.  I will not be rollercoasted by anything or anyone.  My life has been such a joy shared with Colin.  I will not sully those memories of all our passion, fun and sorrows with the inability to cope with the ripping agony of grief.  One step at a time and gently go forward.  Do not be afraid to rest and reflect but then gently onwards.

I greatly benefit from loving close family and fantastic angelic friends and of course, a dog who believes I am IT ‘the best thing since sliced bread’!!!

And a BusPass for which I have many a plan come the new Year . As the days draw out and Spring invites us all to marvel at her new ravishing collection of colour and form I hope to be waving my little card and meeting new people and seeing new sights through eyes and ears aglow with the joy of life.

OK dog drag me out and get me going, please!

a little nostalgia and sentimentality is OK but

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too much and you end up swamped in the past. But Christmas is about memories for me and I cherish them. I have two brothers and a sister and I was the one who could never understand why everyone wasn’t awake at 2.00am on Christmas morning. The stocking was stuffed because when I pushed with my toes I could hear the crackle of paper, and almost taste the tangerine and silver wrapped chocolate Father Christmas that would be stuffed in the toe. Come on everyone its Christmas! But eventually that wonderful day would roll on full of laughter, church, singing, turkey, and FUN. It was all so magical. From gazing out of the window before bed on Christmas Eve and being convinced I could see and hear Santa gliding through the night on his reindeer drawn sleigh to the clearing up piles of wrapping paper and laughing as my poor Mum tried to make notes of who sent what to whom. We crashed to earth when it was thankyou letter writing time. But I even remember that with pleasure – on reflection – all part of the ying and yang of Christmas.

I feel very lucky that I have such wonderful memories and in fact I realise that although my Christmases over the years as an adult have been sometimes very sad and rather confused I have never lost that wonder. Christmas Day for me is never an actual day, a Monday or a Friday etc. It stands on it own Christmas Day. I do not give it religious overtones but it is a special day. It is a day when I find as the years roll on I do reflect on my life and my loves. I reflect on my mistakes and my triumphs. On my sorrows and my joys. But I also look to the future to still try and improve in every way and accept my shortcomings but push forward with my strengths. Strangely this is harder as you get older as I have so many pre-conceived concepts about everything. So 2013 is the year for questioning everything because I’m running out of time to mess around waiting for something/someone – its up to me. The only thing I am prepared to wait for is the bus!

So this is my first Christmas without a car and so far so brilliant. My bank balance agrees with me. Luckily I have lovely friends with cars who I know will help if I need them. On Monday I hope to buy my Christmas decoration which will be various pot plants. I started this idea a few years ago as my husband and I decided we really didn’t want a tree but we knew we needed something. So we decided on flowers and pot plants. And thanks to my Angelfriend I shall have no trouble getting them home.

So I am now going to knit myself some fabulous trousers which will be striped and very floppy and a sweater to match. These are for Christmas Day. All done on my knitting machine. I have always loved knitting by hand and then I started to crochet. But when my beloved husband was diagnosed with cancer 6 years ago I decided, after months of thinking, to buy a second-hand knitting machine. Over the last 6 years as the cursed cancer cruelly stole my lovely loves life away – he died this year on February 23 2012 at home with my son and myself caring for him to the end – I have been learning how to use this machine. It has helped me during some very. very hard times and in fact just before and after Colin died I couldn’t use it

But I am back in the saddle and am finding it giving me new consolation (and ambition). A few years ago I decided I couldn’t wear anything I hadn’t knitted. That is why I had to design the trousers –
I love skirts but hate tights actually that is a combination I’m also working on. Now a friend said to me one day ‘Uumm you look very uumm knitted!’ an observation which still makes me laugh. Many a true word is spoken in jest – in other words I’m still working on my style!

So the parcels are sent – the cards are sent. Time to wallow in yarns and a bit of cooking – peppermint creams first I think. Delicious and very easy but they need time to dry out and this year I’m going to coat them in chocolate oooh and I must make some French Fancies as seen on The Great British Bake Off that should be festive better get the Carols on!

christmas trip

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to visit my lovely niece and family and my brother and sister who both live near by. I was a little apprehensive of getting to the airport without a car but it was very simple and everything linked up seamlessly.

I can honestly say in my position I realize now that the car was more of a pressure than a necessity. And possibly a habit (a rather expensive habit at that). So I must say as I walked the dog passed parked cars covered in ice and snow, with some of their owners busily scrapping away with the engine chugging away trying to warm everything up, I felt no pangs of regret. Although I certainly didn’t feel smug as walking on the pavements is quite scary in this seasonal weather. Maybe I should buy some crampons? There is always some little irksome problem to puzzle about!

Katie, my niece, has developed over the last few years a wonderful, cheerful business called ‘moltonwonky.co.uk’. (Look up Katie Lynn or moltonwonky just quirky and fun – I haven’t worked out linking yet and must wait for advice from my guru). Katie trained as a stainglass artist but has now developed an individual, funky style using fused glass. Every Christmas she has an AT HOME with about 4 other crafts people. This year it was Caroline who made yummy sweets, Kathie creates lovely jewelry and Hannah made charming bags. When I arrived on Wednesday afternoon they were still setting up in the downstairs rooms and it all looked quite magical. On Thursday they were open all day and didn’t stop until 9.00pm. I was part of kitchen staff and had a lovely day chatting, making tea/coffee popping more sausage rolls and nkymince pies into the Aga and my own mouth and drinking Margaretas (can’t spell it but I loved drinking them). Katie has also produced (with a little help from her husband) four lovely children. Two girls first and then two boys. And what a joy they all are – if I could bottle their hugs well, I would use one first thing in the morning and one last thing at night and maybe one inbetween when I felt the need.

But it was still great to fly home. Except it took me a little longer than anticipated as I missed my connection bus to the village because I was dreamily sipping coffee in the shopping centre and miss read the time! So I need to sharpen up my wits to TIMETABLES – more studying required.

It’s still here….

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I had hoped my dear car would have been driven away yesterday but now the parting must wait for another week. And the trouble is when you make these (for me) life changing decisions you want it to happen as quick as possible. The actual decision can take a long time to make but once made – let’s do it is my attitude. But if I was really desperate I could drive to the scrap yard and have the poor thing crushed but my friend at the garage is selling it for me and so I must just hang on another week. And it is strangely pleasant to think it still has some worthy life left under the bonnet even if the bodywork is a bit iffy. But the new owner I know can sort all that out – he has the skill. So it is a win win situation. And I look forward to receiving my winnings!

I travelled on the bus last Friday. And it was just as I remember travelling on a bus – except most of my bus travel was to and from school so a nightmare for the other passengers. But there were the same draughts and bumping around and smells of other humans(but no tobacco staining the air). Mostly single travellers so not much chatter until a man got on and sat behind the driver and they chatted gently but with great interest in each others delivery and gave the whole bus an atmosphere of pleasant company. This is going to work for me all I need are some good warm boots. Back to eBay.

Which is another new world for me. The key to blogging and eBaying was opened by my lovely friend. How is it that some people have the gift to be there when you really need help. This is how I met this young woman. She came into my life when the demons of hell were about to break in. Initially she helped with getting certain allowances I had no idea about which made a huge difference to our life. And then life got really tough financially (and emotionally) and she just listened and suggested and rang people and stayed calm and thoughtful while I was able to rage and weep and nearly fall apart. She really did give me a strength I had no idea I had. And she never let me down. An Angel who came into my life at a time when it was falling apart. At a time when all directions were full of pain and despair. Very very hard 24 hour days that just went on and on. But she was always never far away even when really her involvement in our affairs was over. Now life is easier and she still flies in and opens up new possibilities and I cannot imagine my life now without her. She is the treasure we all hope to find so out of some very hard times I find a an Angel studded with diamonds. Lucky me.

But I do have a complaint about this blogging and eBaying as it is now 12.30pm and I have done nothing but blogged and eBayed. So I think I must try and set aside certain times for doing it. ( And if thats not cloud cuckoo land thinking I don’t know what is).