Retroladytyping …



Several days ago a “breakdown at the interface between attention and memory” (Schacter) caused a tsunami of stress, self-doubt, fear for mental health, paranoia and possible marital breakdown  in my house.

Wednesday evening.  It had been a long day:  difficult drive through  hailstorm, meeting,  too much cake,  too much coffee, traffic jam, in need of comfort break.  Home.  Throw bag in direction of stairs.  Remove coat. (Take comfort break). Cook meal.  Speak to husband.  Television.   Normal.

Thursday morning. Asda shop.  Boots on, coat on, pick up bag, find ‘green’ carrier bags,  open front door, left hand into handbag  …. no keys.  Calm and breathe, check bag pockets, check coat pockets.  Still calm. Remove old till receipts, bus tickets, out of date money-off vouchers, purse, credit card wallet, husband’s spare car keys (why have I got those?).  Calm.  Think.  Tip bag upside down and shake.  Silence. Hold breath.  Think.  Breathe.  Think…  Check yesterday’s coat pockets, check today’s coat pockets, check all coat pockets, check coats under stairs not worn for months, check husband’s coat pockets, check downstairs loo,medicine cabinet, cleaning products basket.   Logical thinking.  Retrace steps.

S-t-e-p-s … three, from front door  to telephone shelf where bag lives.    Upstairs.  Increasing  panic.  Breathe.   Check laundry basket (why?), bathroom, under bed, airing cupboard.  Downstairs, check fridge, washing machine, microwave (why?), cupboards, side of chairs, under chairs.

Rising panic.

Self doubt.




Must have opened front door.  Check door.   Check car.


Re-check door.

Search under hedge by front door.



Calm.  Phone husband.  Has he picked them up by mistake.  No.

Rant at husband to check his car, pockets, etc.  No.

PANIC.  Think.  Door hadn’t been opened overnight.  ‘Someone’ may be waiting till house is unoccupied.  Phone locksmith, arrange for locks to be changed – tomorrow.

Locksmith arrives.  Changes locks and reassures.  Not reassured.

Occupy self.  Washing. Hoovering.  Ironing.  Not thinking.

PANIC.   My car?    Arrange for man with computer to source and programme new car keys in three days time.

Check Alzheimer’s Society website – symptoms of dementia.  Read reassuring messages.  Not reassured.

Google “Memory lapses.  What is normal?”  Not reassured.

Shout at husband.

Buy new keyrings from Amazon.  Comfort shopping.

Normal life.

Saturday evening.  Husband, “Shall I check bag one more time?”  Me, “If you like, but they’re not there.”  Shrug.  Husband, “Are these the ones?”

The End… nearly …

The plus side:

  • I’m £200 better off, as no need for man with computer who sorts out car keys.
  • Front door lock which has been awkward for years now operates perfectly.


Thank you Tom Tidal for the phrase “Keygate.”



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String and two sticks

Why I knit

I’ve always been a knitter: one of those ladies who click in the corner, with the occasional “Sssh, I’m counting,” while The Husband  is trying to concentrate on the plot line of one of those convoluted  thrillers which come in three parts.  Why?  Well, Mum did, Gran did and my many aunts did, so there were plenty of people around to help with tricky bits and   I am of the generation who were taught to knit at school from the age of 5, starting with dishcloths  progressing through dolls clothes and baby clothes to  knitting  our own school jumpers – the ones with a contrasting stripe around the ‘V’ neck, in two colours if you went to my school.

My sons   wore hand knitted woollies until it became uncool to wear mum’s hand knitting.  Strangely, they didn’t seem to want me to produce a customised Nike logo sweatshirt!    Now they are (very tall) adults  and hand-knitting is fashionable again,  they might like me to produce something, but it’s just too daunting – sorry boys.  Knitting for a nearly two year old  grandson, however, is acceptable because as long as he is able to get through his busy day in comfort, he’s happy.  It won’t last.

Any knitters reading this will know about the ‘stash.’  It results from the compulsive urge to  have a supply of wool and patterns,  just in case  of a sudden knitting emergency (not often wool nowadays, but still referred to as such.  Yarn just doesn’t sound right).  Temporary satisfaction of this urge is so easy now with  internet shopping and  has the added benefit of providing a colourful insulating layer for the spare room.  Sorting and categorising the different types by weight, colour, purpose and age, while planning future projects,  is a very useful displacement activity when housework is on the agenda, as is “just one more row.” (then another and another …)

A closer look at the image above shows that knitting has health benefits too.  It is meditative, mindful (impossible to think of anything else when knitting aran with all its cables, bobbles and lattice-work) and therapeutic, so much so that a group, Stitchlinks, has been set up at a local hospital to help those suffering from stress related illness. using knitting alongside more conventional therapies.  I need to remember those benefits when I am tinking and tutting in the corner.   I shall remind my husband, when the clicking and occasional heavy sigh disturbs his viewing, that, without my knitting, he would be unable to watch undistracted, as I would feel the need to talk,   even daring to ask for clarification of the plot,  instead of being the reasonably calm, almost silent,  occupied and content  woman he shares the settee with every evening.

(Tinking = unpicking i.e. reverse of knit-ing painstakingly stitch by stitch – often necessary when constructing complicated patterns using expensive mohair yarn and being distracted by three part thrillers).

P.S.  Just read an article about a lady who knits while running to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research.  Hmmm, now there’s a thought …








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