SallyP

Retroladytyping …

“Sumer is icumen in …”

No that’s not a misspelling.   It’s from a song written in the 13th Century in, according to Wikipaedia, Wessex medieval English.  Apparently it’s a song which can go on and on and on … for an indeterminate length of time …

This post is born out of a feeling of being all ‘Brexited out’ and wondering if it is permissible to just let things happen around us for a while, instead of endlessly checking up on them to see how they are going.

I’ve chosen the song link, because it’s one that we used to sing at Primary School and it always comes to mind at this time of year.

It’s the first proper post I’ve done for quite a while, apart from a couple of failed attempts and a few which probably weren’t posting, being a litany of whines about my failure to write anything worth opening up the laptop for.  So … what triggered this and why today?

The answer is, in some respects, mundane, boring and unremarkable.  Spring, that’s all.  Today for the first time this year, I took my coffee outside and just observed, listened and absorbed what was happening in our quiet little part of the earth.  Nothing much was apparent – the distant whine of a strimmer, the flapping of washing, the slam of the postman’s van door nearby.  That’s all.  But … it’s spring.

Today, I noticed that there are buds on a shrub which I thought was dead, so stuck into the earth in a corner, mostly because MrP said it ‘might’ do something.      I can’t even remember what type of shrub it is, just that it has survived being torn up to make way for a rockery, seemingly giving up on life.  It was stronger than it looked though.  While we were busy with other things, it was quietly getting on with what it needed to do to show itself, renewed, today.   In a couple of weeks, who knows what it will look like, but it will stay, because, along with me taking my coffee outside for the first time this year, it symbolises spring, hope, strength (having survived being unceremoniously wrenched up and narrowly escaping the garden waste bin) and optimism.

There are enormous changes going on elsewhere at present.  The EU, or our role in it, is being diminished – no scrub that, it’s actually being dumped by us, like I nearly dumped that shrub.  Who knows what will happen, certainly not those who profess to do so.  Uncertainty is the feeling of choice, at least it is for me.  I didn’t want to leave the EU.  I still think the referendum shouldn’t have happened, as we weren’t given an informed analysis of possible consequences.  We still haven’t been and that’s worrying.  Not knowing, due largely,  I feel,  to the mis-mash of media comments and opinions,  is the worst feeling.  I googled “What happens now that article 50 has been signed?”  and the answer seems to be that the BBC anyway, who are supposed to  “inform, educate and entertain” us,   don’t really know, because it’s never happened before.  Fair enough.  So what do we do in the meantime?  Do we worry?

It is reassuring, among all that change, that some things can carry on – on the surface unimportant maybe.  Those few buds on a seemingly dead shrub don’t mean much really.  I know that.  However, to me, in the middle of very worrying times, they show that nature continues to do what it does best, carry on regardless of what is happening.  I don’t remember what that shrub used to look like;  I don’t really remember the days before we joined what was then the Common Market.

Perhaps then I need to do the same as that shrub,  instead of metaphorically digging things up to take a look at how they are doing.  Just sit back, take my coffee outside every now and then, take a deep breath and realise that everything is all right really.  Is that burying my hand in the sand?  Probably, but I’m sick and tired of trying to understand what may or may not happen.  I’m going to sit back and let it all take care of itself for a while, till I decide to take another look.

 

As I said, this is my first proper post for a while.  I’m going to post it now, without repeatedly amending it and see what happens.  Please be gentle with me.  I may blossom forth at some future point.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumer_Is_Icumen_In

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39143978

 

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Writer’s block?

WritersBlockPic_opt_LargeWide

This is my third attempt in as many days to write something – anything, which is worth the effort of doing so and, more importantly, worth reading.  But I can’t.  I just can’t.  Several compositions have been attempted.   I’ve taken advice to just sit and write, something – anything, but it doesn’t happen.  Actually it does, but it’s just an outpouring of thoughts in no cohesive order,  grammatically ok, but just plain boring …

What has happened?  I used to find it easy to pour my thoughts out via a keyboard.  It was my way of ordering confusion in an increasingly confused world.  I used to wake in the wee small hours full of ideas and find it easy then, with no distractions, to translate those thoughts into some sort of writing.  No more.  When I wake up in the wee small hours now, I just want to go back to sleep.  My brain switches off.

So much has happened lately:  the terrorist attack in Westminster being the latest.  A few months ago I would have had thoughts and opinions, which I would have written about.  I tried.  I tried several times.  I read other, professional writers, thoughts and opinions.  There were many of those yesterday.  Some I agree with; some I didn’t.  None penetrated my brain enough to produce anything of my own.

A friend, and fellow blogger, yesterday wrote a piece which contained the word ‘happenstance’.  I love that word.  That’s it, I thought.  I’ll write about that word, why I like it, with some examples.  I even woke in the wee small hours thinking of it.  Yes, it’s happened.  I can write again!  Job done.  It didn’t happen.  Well, it did, but it was just a lot of waffle.  Not worth the effort and certainly not worth reading.

This used to be easy.  Any thoughts?  Anyone else experienced this?  Will it go?  Should I keep trying and become increasingly frustrated?  Should I give up, realise I overstretched myself thinking I could do writing thing?  Or what?

 

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Penalised for coping …

 

dementia

I am sharing a post written by a lady who has early onset dementia.  She is coping fantastically well, has regular meetings with the likes of NHS high-ups, the media and those with the power to change things so we can all live in a dementia-friendly society.

In order to help her cope independently she, and her family, have put several dementia-friendly strategies in place in her own life.  This also give her the means to do what she does to raise awareness.  Now she has been turned down for PIP funding  (Personal Independence Payment) which would help her to keep her independence, to travel to meetings with those in power and, more importantly, keep her morale and dignity high.  She just cannot understand why, when she has a progressive illness and used to get this funding, it has now been withdrawn.

I am angry on her behalf and on behalf of all those  who try to keep their dignity and independence against the odds.

The link to her post is below,  outlining the reasons why she was turned down for this important funding, together with the comments  ‘they’ made on each of the points she made.  I am fuming … if you are too, please share.

It’s also worth reading her other posts.  She is an amazing person.  I only hope I can be that strong if I am ever in the same position.

Thanks for reading.

https://whichmeamitoday.wordpress.com/2016/10/28/pip-reconsideration-declined/

https://whichmeamitoday.wordpress.com/author/wendy7713/

https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Personal-Independence-Payment/What-is-Personal-Independence-Payment

http://www.advicenow.org.uk/guides/how-win-pip-appeal

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Sign of friendship

Celtic symbol for friendship.jpg

I have a friend.

That friend is an unlikely friend.  He is quite different from my other friends.  Most of them are round about my age; some are related to me; some are ones I met through my children; some through shared interests and some have, sadly, fallen by the wayside as our lives diverged.  This friend won’t, I hope.  This friend is different in that he is a younger generation, unconventional, creative and complex in a way that I and none of my other friends are.  Despite that, or possibly because of that, we are friends.

We were just distant colleagues until one day he happened to overhear a conversation I was having with another colleague about our musical tastes.  He commented that I had “exemplary taste in music.”  I don’t know about that, but we do certainly share similar tastes.  That initial contact was very quick as duty called.  We were then ‘forced’ (willingly) to work together on a regular basis.  I won’t say what his job is, but he does it superbly and inspirationally well, mostly.  Mostly, until I correct him, that is.  That’s the kind of relationship we have.  I admire him tremendously but from that initial co-incidence of an overheard conversation, we have now arrived at a point where (I hope) we don’t need to tread carefully with each other – do we?  I hope he reads this and will feel free to correct me, if necessary.  I think we have enough mutual respect to do that.  I certainly do.  He once told me that I ‘enhance’ what he does professionally.  He probably doesn’t remember saying that, but I treasure that comment.  It is a wonderful compliment to me, but also indicative of his character that he said it.  To be that generous with what to him was probably just an idle  comment is unusual, precious and memorable.

Throughout our working together, we found we shared more and more of each other’s thoughts, ideas and concerns.  That is such a wonderful way to spend a great deal of one’s working life.  We grew used to knowing what the other person was going to say before they said it … finishing each other’s sentences became the norm.  I cared for him; I know he cared for me.  Nothing untoward, just shared understanding.  Then I left that job.

That worried me.  I left at a time when he was away from the job for a while too, so we didn’t get to say goodbye in the real world.  I moved onto other things, but to my delight I found that while he was away he had taken on a similar role to what I do now, volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Society.    I hadn’t even known he was interested in that.  He didn’t know I was going to do it, but he had been one step ahead of me and already started.  Of course he had.  I don’t know why I was surprised.  Our paths have crossed a couple of times through that role which has been lovely, but we have also kept in touch through the magical world of virtual media – texts and the much maligned Facebook.

Recently I asked him to do me a favour.  He has a skill which I don’t possess.  He writes poetry, eloquent poetry,  emotive and descriptive poetry which captures the essence of his subject and speaks to the reader in a unique way which is incredibly difficult to convey in any other way.  I wanted him to write a poem to commemorate a special occasion in my life.  I knew it was a big ask.  I would need to share personal ‘stuff’ with him; he would be sharing the creative side of himself with me.  Would that test our friendship in a way that purely practical favours don’t?  Taking a deep breath and with several rewrites, I sent him a message …

He instantly replied.  Yes, he would do it and would be honoured.  Honoured!  That was reassuring and not a little surprising.  I don’t know why it was surprising.  I should have known.  Of course I should.  That’s the type of person he is.

A few days later, the poem arrived.  I loved it, but there was one phrase which niggled.  He had asked me to comment and to comment honestly.  I wasn’t sure.  To criticise a person’s creative spirit is a potential minefield and what do I know about poetry after all?  Not much, but I do know what I like.  So … having sent an ‘I love it, but will comment further when I’ve read it properly’ holding message, I let it settle in my brain.  That phrase still niggled though.  I still held off further comment, then a text came.  “Have you had a chance to re-read yet?”  No hiding place.  I needed to reply.  So … I told him about my niggle, hoping he wouldn’t mind and, of course, I was hiding behind the distance of a text.

Not only didn’t he mind, but within an hour a new improved version arrived in my in-box.  It is now perfect.  He has summed up the meaning of that special occasion, without sentimentality, without cliché, without anything other than beautiful words, cleverly assembled into exactly what I wanted – a message for  a special person.

It is wonderful to be the other half of an unlikely, cross-generational friendship and knowing (hoping) that friendship will continue, favours can be asked, confidences can be shared and understanding will be at the core of that friendship.

Thank you to my poet friend.  xx

 

 

 

 

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Unravelled

 Life imitates knitting – at least it does in my case …

unravelled yarn

Over the past couple of weeks  I have become unravelled.

I have felt knotted, muddled, mixed up and unexpectedly confused.    I had taken on a project which should have only been slightly outside my comfort-zone.  I had expected to feel like I do when picking up a well-used, familiar knitting pattern: comfortable and at ease.   However, this time someone had  amended the pattern, without adding an erratum notice.

If I’d expected the unfamiliar, I would have done what I usually do – researched, Googled, You-tubed, practised and rehearsed until I felt comfortable.  I didn’t, so  I became unravelled.  I knew how to knit; I knew all the stitches.  What I hadn’t done was used them according to that particular pattern.

I  hadn’t realised the need to re-familiarise myself with what I thought were well-learned techniques before starting.  Big mistake.   I  carried on trying very hard to untangle the knot which I felt inside every day.   I re-read the pattern, but still had to cope with the knotted yarn.  I was becoming more and more frustrated and even thought of abandoning the project. I thought there was no way to sort the heap of unravelled-ness.

Today  someone told me to  pause,  think and check understanding before starting.     I did.  It worked.  The lesson I have learned is to not to assume knowledge; if you do, expect to become unravelled.  The other lesson I learned is make sure the yarn is untangled and the pattern is understood before attempting to start knitting.  Time is all it needed; that and the realisation that every new undertaking is slightly different.  Expecting that difference might avoid a mess  of unravelled yarn, which takes longer to sort than making sure all is in order before starting.

stripes

The project is still a work in progress; hopefully that tangle is no more.    If not, I shall  take time to smooth it out before starting.

 macrameA1_______________________________

 

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