SallyP

Retroladytyping …

Taking a break …

… from  “The Facebook News Feed… oh that black hole of endless EVERYTHING” http://www.8womendream.com/63272/facebook-fatigue

Just recently I found myself becoming increasingly stressed without any reasonable cause.  Nothing much had changed.  Spring had sprung.  There were holidays and breaks to look forward to.  No pressure of work.  No pressure of any kind that I could see, and yet, and yet … something was happening.  My eyes felt as if I needed to take them out and rinse them under the tap, my back ached, my head ached, but mostly I was worried about a ‘something’ which I couldn’t quantify or  describe.   There was always a feeling of ‘something’ being wrong, ‘something’ which needed to be checked – just in case.

Wandering in a sleepy daze downstairs every morning, I caught my hand going out to that switch in the hall.  That one.  The one which triggers a flashing green light.  The box of connectivity.    I wasn’t switching it on with any real purpose in mind – no imminent need to email, shop or check the news or the weather.  As I opened up the laptop, I realised I was automatically moving the mouse to Facebook.  Why?

Why indeed?  Because I wanted to check if anything was happening.  Of course something was happening.  Something always is.  I can honestly say that I do know, in real life, most of my Facebook friends,  we have a common interest, or a shared educational or employment history.  Yes, I’m justifying myself.  But I felt I needed to check on their doings before I’d even staggered into the kitchen to put the kettle on for a caffeine hit, as well as frequent checks throughout the day.    Did I really need to  keep checking, googling and clicking on links until I developed a crick in my neck, followed by a headache, then a stress-inducing worry session brought about by information overload?  I did.  After all ‘something’ may have happened overnight, or may happen just as I log off … and I wouldn’t know about it. 

So what.

Yesterday I found myself massively over-reacting to a minor mishap in the real world (don’t ask – to do with misunderstandings and the expectation that the person closest to me can actually read my mind and knows what I am really saying … yes, that kind of misunderstanding, probably familiar to most long-married people.)

On reflection, when I had calmed down, I realised that what I was feeling  was brain overload.  I felt teary, tired, emotional and mentally exhausted for no good reason.  On reflection I realised that this kind of thing had been happening far too frequently lately. I’d been blaming others, the weather, being busy, the political situation – anything really.     I then found this website:  http://www.8womendream.com/63272/facebook-fatigue.

Please read it.  It is very enlightening.  There is so much information out there, most of which we don’t need or want to know.  It’s an endless pit of ‘stuff’ which I fell into every day and was in danger of becoming suffocated by.

That website describes Facebook as “a black hole of ENDLESS EVERYTHING” – yes, that’s exactly right.  Of course, Facebook has its positive uses:  keeping in touch with past friends whose paths have taken them to far-flung places, discussion groups with like-minded people, photographs – especially of weddings and new babies.  Using the Chat facility to arrange reunions, sharing news of personal events. Who can complain about those?

However, it’s the other side of those positives which I think had been  affecting me – the constant need to check ‘just-in-case’ somewhere within that endless everything there was that vital something which I really, really needed to know.  If that wasn’t to be the case, then I would share something about my own life – most of it just trivia to pour into that black hole of endless everything.

The truth is that everyone who might need to share something with me which I really, really needed to know, has my phone number, email, address or all three.  Similarly, if I need to tell someone about my day, I can telephone them, see them, or even … don’t tell them, because they don’t really need to know.  I don’t live on a remote island away from human contact.  My automatic reaching out to that box of connectivity in the hallway and the automatic moving of the mouse to the Facebook icon needed to stop.  So it did … yesterday.  I am taking a break.  Time will tell for how long.

What shall I do instead?  Well, I plan to take more time to do real things properly, even if those real things are routine or I could drink my coffee while it’s hot,  rather than letting it get cold while I am in the virtual world.  That’s about it:  just taking time.

Of course, it  may be that Facebook isn’t the reason why I’ve been so stressed.   It may be “others, the weather, being busy, the political situation.”  Time will tell.

At the moment, I am sorely tempted to just take a quick peek.  Shall I?  I may be missing out on something vital;  I may need to react to something I read;  I may need to get involved in a discussion or, more likely, it will be just information to pour into my overloaded brain.  So, I won’t.  I think.  Maybe.

FacebookNotificationTA

http://www.8womendream.com/63272/facebook-fatigue

https://www.wired.com/2016/06/how-to-turn-off-facebook-live-video-notifications/

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Writer’s block?

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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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The inspirational Mr Neate

my-english-teacherBack in the days of ‘O’ levels, my English teacher was a very unusual (for those days) teacher.  He was a teacher of the old school, complete with cap and gown, in an era of freedom of expression, freedom of thought and when conforming meant not conforming i.e. the 1960s.

Mr Neate wore a cap and gown when other teachers were wearing scuffed suede shoes, brown corduroy jackets and jeans.  He was always dressed in a dark suit, with worn through elbows and chalk dust on the lapels.  His shoes were always extremely black, extremely polished and extremely tip-tappy. He swept into assembly every morning like a short, round bat – sleeves flapping, shoes tapping,  as he marched through groups of students who were asserting their individuality by all looking the same – rolled over skirts, luminous socks, the whole 1960s look – and this was in a Grammar school, where our skirts were measured for length weekly by the Senior Mistress.

More important than his appearance, however, is that Mr Neate was a truly inspirational teacher.  He ruled by his short, round presence.  When he entered the classroom, silence reigned.  He rarely shouted.  When he did, it was because a pupil wasn’t venturing an opinion.  Whether we were discussing Keates, Chaucer, Maugham or, my personal love, Coleridge,  Mr Neate really, really loved a good argument.  His only proviso was that opinions had to be backed by evidence.  Not for him any woolly-minded ‘because I think so’ discussions.  We needed evidence; even if in his view, our opinions were misinformed.

I often took issue with him about our favourite poets:  I loved then, and still do, Kubla Khan by Coleridge.  In his view it was a drug-fuelled rambling dirge.  I disagreed, quoting lines such as “Through caverns measureless to man down to a sunless sea” to back my opinion.  He disagreed, quoting what I thought then was over romantic slush from Wordsworth.  I still think he was wrong.  Kubla Khan is sublime.  He preferred Wordsworth.   I disagreed again,  pointing out that Wordsworth knew Coleridge and joined him in his drug-fuelled ramblings on the Quantock Hills.  I think I win that one.  Who wants daffodils when you can have a cavern leading to a sunless sea?  Not me.

On some topics we did agree.  He loved Chaucer.  I loved Chaucer and still do.  The Nun’s Priest’s Tale is always a good read, funny, challenging and bawdy.  What else, apart from a little drug-fuelled rambling, can a reader want.  Suspense?

There’s plenty of that in Shakespeare, but that was where Mr Neate failed.  Those were the days of ‘O’ levels and we were in an academic environment.  Instructions  from the Headmaster meant he had to be seen to teach to the curriculum and Shakespeare was on that curriculum.  He had to provide proof that we had studied it ‘properly’, rather than spending whole lessons arguing having a reasoned debate. Hence, it was taught by reading around the class in turn, then answering past exam questions.  Killed it, stone dead, for me.

That is until I had the good fortune to meet another inspirational teacher, as an adult, and to be able to work with him.  He teaches in the same inspirational way as Mr Neate.  He encourages argument and debate, as long as it is backed by evidence.  I  argue with him, often, just as I did with Mr Neate.  I hope most of my arguments are backed by evidence; I hope they encourage the students to realise that there is no correct opinion in English  literature teaching and learning, as long as it conforms to that prescribed acronym beloved by AQA examiners, PEE – Point, Evidence, Explanation.

Teachers have to conform; they need their jobs.  However, sometimes it’s desirable to stray from the script to encourage creativity, love of literature for its own sake.  Forget the exams (just for a while), forget targets, forget homework, just enjoy words.  My friend, as he now is, does deviate from the script, but he encourages and nourishes a love of words, admiration for the different ways they can be put together to arouse emotions and the fact that English Lit lessons can be fun and, more importantly, they make you think.

He also awoke in me a renewed interest in Shakespeare, so undoing any damage caused unwittingly by ‘O’ level teaching.   That is no bad thing.

Mr Neate was different from the conventional 1960s teacher, who thought they were pushing the boundaries.  He was truly pushing the boundaries, dressing as he wanted, not as  the other  trend-setting teachers did.  He set his own trends, taught in his own way and inspired in me  a love of the written and spoken word, albeit killing Shakespeare through no fault of his own.   My friend does the same, doesn’t always conform to the prescribed structure, but his students enjoy that; they think and are encouraged to express those thoughts, as long as they conform to the  PEE structure, of course.  Not everything can be jettisoned in the days of SATS, 5* GCSEs (including English, of course) and league tables – unfortunately.

Mr Neate ignited my love of all things word related.  My contemporary friend fanned the flames.  Thank you, both of you.

 

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Memories, walking, talking – shared experiences – updated for 2017!!

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Liz, Sally, Jenny and Kathryn and a cast of hundreds walk to remember …

As I said at the end, we will do it again … and lo and behold, the time has come around again.  This year, 2017, the Walk is taking part in Victoria Park, Bath on 3rd September.  Liz and I are in what passes for training for us … our trainers have been dusted off; our Alzheimer’s Society t-shirts have arrived.  They are a rather attractive shade of turquoise this year, complete with the new Alzheimer’s Society logo.  We are looking forward to the day as we always do.  Even more we are looking forward to being in a group of people all with the same aim:  to raise awareness of dementia, while raising money to support all those who are affected.  My story is below.  Everyone on that walk has a story to tell and that is what makes the day so special.  Alzhiemer's Society logo

I have, shamelessly, posted  link to my Just Giving page for this year at the end of this post.  Shamelessly, because I care so much about the Alzheimer’s Society and so much about doing a little bit to help alleviate its effects on everyone who experiences it, personally, as a relative of a loved one, or as a carer.  If anyone would like to donate, that would be very kind and very much appreciated. 

https://wordpresscom5722.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/memories-walking-talking-shared-experiences/

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Yesterday, in Bath, a very memorable event took place.  Among all the Georgian, Roman, retail and various tourist activities, hundreds of people assembled on Bath Rec (the home of Bath rugby – another of Bath’s claims to fame) to walk 10K (6 and a bit miles in old money) to achieve three things:  to raise awareness of dementia in all its forms, to remember those affected by this awful illness and to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society.  The Society does valuable work to support people who have dementia, their families and friends, to fund research into causes and, hopefully one wonderful day, to find effective treatments and a cure.

I have taken part in two Memory Walks before this one, which was the inaugural one in Bath.  The Bath Memory Walk  was  extra special because I had the company of my friend, Liz, the other proud Grandma of our shared grandson, also Jenny and Kathryn, walking in memory of their Nan.  We didn’t see too much of them after the start – they are young, so went at a pace which we didn’t attempt to match.  We know our limits and keeping up with two twenty-somethings is probably several steps too far and fast.

I do these Walks, as well as volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Society, mostly in memory of my Mum, who died with dementia just over two years ago.  As a family, I know we, being ignorant of what dementia actually means, didn’t  always do the right things by our Mum.  We didn’t know, so how could we?  However, leaving aside any regrets, I am determined to do what little I can now, as well as finding out as much as I can about dementia, its progress and what can be done to help.     I’ve also, again with Liz, done a couple of 10K actual RUNS.  Those hurt and may not be repeated, so onward with the Memory Walks – they are doable and relatively pain-free.

Back in Bath, on a beautiful, sunny Autumn morning, so perfect for walking and an all-round feel-good day, we arrived, did the hug thing, didn’t take part in the crowd warm-up as we were so busy chatting about said shared grandson, looked at the Memory tree and added my leaf,  met up with Jenny and Kathryn,  my nieces, two of my Mum’s grand-daughters, who walking in memory of their Nan, my Mum, and … off we went,  shuffling through the Start line, in the midst of the many walkers with a shared aim – to do something to remember and  support those with experience of dementia.

Before I write any more, I must mention, again, the Memory Tree – at the site of all Memory Walks there is a Memory Tree – a large white leafless twig, with  img_0375many fluttering labels attached.  Walkers and friends are encouraged to write the name of a loved-one,  a memory and a reason why they are walking that day on a blank label, then attach it to the Memory Tree.   It may sound a little twee, but it is a very moving sight.  Some labels  mention a person’s name, some mention more, but all are special.  To see that, on a sunny day, with the label-leaves fluttering memories of so many people is very moving, as is hearing people reading out the thoughts of others.

Returning to the Walk … after the initial shuffling past the Start, participants spread out and followed the guidance of the wonderful volunteer Marshals.  We haven’t been assisted to cross the road for quite a long time, but we were very grateful to  those high-viz ladies and gentlemen who  were great at holding up traffic, directing us across and thanking each and everyone of us.   The drivers must have wondered at the diverse group of white t-shirted people walking in a  disorderly procession with accompanying dogs, toddlers and a couple of people with zimmers – Memory Walks are like that.   Hopefully, those car-bound people  will find out more and maybe even support us next year, as might the slightly bemused shoppers and tourists.

The rest of the Walk went in a sort of haze … Liz and I had lots to talk about:  our Grandson, including the showing of photographs of course, our parents, our philosophy of life  – stuff like that.  We are never short of a word or seven are Liz and me. We  passed some wonderful architecture in the city and  saw some nature in the parks among other  delights which Bath has to offer, including a great many tourists, but we were too involved with chatting and the purpose of our day to take much notice.   All around us were people supporting the same worthwhile and meaningful  cause, all with a tale to tell, some chatting amongst themselves, some quietly walking, most with personal experience of dementia, some directly, some through their loved ones, some through their patients.   Everyone was wearing a placard saying why they were walking, some with photographs, some saying “For everyone with dementia.”  Mine was personal – my Mum, of course.  IMG_0367.JPG I have worn this one for each Memory Walk, although we receive a new one to personalise each year.  Seems wrong to throw it away and start again.   I was really touched that Liz’s sign said “I am walking for Sally’s Mum.”  That was lovely.  Thank you Liz.

As well as Mum, I was thinking of the people I see weekly in our local hospital, who are coping with the multiple and unsettling difficulties of being physically unwell and  in hospital, while having dementia.  Another person who came to mind often was the amazingly brave, stoical and feisty lady I visit, also weekly, at her home.  This lady, as well as living with dementia, is a demon Scrabble player.  The Memory  Walk was for you too,  and I will beat you one day.  My hospital and home visits are each part of the Voluntary Befriending Scheme run by the Alzheimer’s Society – another example of the support they offer, along with Memory Cafes, Singing for the Brain and on-line support through its Talking Point Forum.

I like to think that we were also walking for our shared Grandson and our children, in the hope that, soon,  the shattering effects of dementia and the erosion of personality that it brings are no more.  I wish … and hope.  Meanwhile, we do what we can to just do something, however little, so that those with more knowledge and power can do more of what they already do so well.

At the finish, we collected  our medals and a free bottle of water, which we certainly needed after all that talking walking.   My medal will go in my Mum Box, with photos and other treasures, the label I always wear on these Walks and the other Medals from past Walks.

Afterwards, back to normal everyday Sunday life – we met with our husbands and went to the pub for Sunday lunch.  The day was completed when Liz’s husband, Phil – our un-official photographer, posted some pictures on Facebook.  Thanks for that Phil.  For once, I shan’t delete any unflattering shots.  Liz and I are proud of what we did.  It was ‘just’ a Walk, no more than a long stroll in the park really, but it carries so much meaning and purpose, so is special to us and, I think, everyone who takes part.  There are others throughout the Autumn at other countrywide venues if anyone else is interested in taking part.

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We did it (and will do it again next year)

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/

https://www.memorywalk.org.uk/

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sally-pillinger3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Special One

mixedWhen we are out walking and need to consult an ordnance survey map, I have an aversion to those areas which are designated as ‘plantation’. Those tall, thin regimented groups of evergreens seem incongruous in a natural environment.   So, if possible, we avoid them, preferring the  randomness of the fluffy clouds of deciduous woodland, with their wild undergrowth, twisted branches, hanging leaves and individual beauty.

Sometimes it has to be done. There is no feasible way round.   Occasionally, however, a fluffy cloud reveals itself amongst  the ranks of the plantation, the fluffiness a cover for its strength in standing alone amongst  the regularity of its surroundings.   It may be crooked; it may not have leaves; the branches may protrude at random angles; the trunk, instead of standing tall, may lean to one side, with broken branches having almost given up, but hanging on regardless of the controlled environment around it.

It is there: noticeable and special. It is strong enough to stand amongst the ordered ranks of those selected to be in the plantation.  It hasn’t needed controlling, nurturing or special consideration; it goes its own way and flourishes, ignored by all the others, but there and noticeable because it doesn’t conform. I saw a tree like this yesterday. I remember it, not standing as tall as the others, but an individual with  its differences displayed. It had escaped the pressures imposed by those who sought to cultivate what they saw as a worthwhile, valuable crop. If it is allowed to develop, it will become stronger, develop blossom, leaves and maybe fruit. The others will be cut down, sold and used. Their worth will be tangible and quantifiable. The individual, special one will not have a measurable worth, but will stand alone, proud and admired amongst all the blandness of the plantation.

Substitute the word academy for plantation, student for tree, exam results for crop, and maybe that is the future for our children’s education.   I hope not.

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What, when, why?

 

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I started this blogging lark on a whim a couple of months ago because it has been said that I am good with words.  That might mean I talk a lot or it might mean I am, to quote one of my cousins, eloquent.  I like the sound of that.   Two friends write very eloquently; one mostly on one topic; the other on whatever strikes him on the day, which is more or less how I have proceeded.  That’s the problem though …

I am not and never will be a ‘writer’.  I write, that’s all.  Being a writer implies skill.  I don’t use skill:  I just think and type.

I googled ‘How to write a blog’ and wish I hadn’t.   The general idea seems to be to stick to one topic and write every day.  EVERY DAY!  What?  I don’t have enough words to write every day.  Would anyone want to read my musings every day in any event?  Having said that, according to my WordPress statistics, one person read one post 19 times!!  Maybe they had a lot of interruptions …

I have interests, things I care about – dementia and the effects on everyone involved, music, family, nature, gardening, knitting,  – all important to me.  I also have a mind like a kaleidoscope – there are lots of small pieces, but none shout to be a single topic.

What to do?

One topic or random mutterings about this and that as the mood takes me?  How often?  And what about poetry? Another cousin writes beautiful poems and publishes them on WordPress.  No, I don’t think I can do that.  Definitely sticking with prose.  I couldn’t assemble my randomness into a poem, but how often to commit that randomness to an ordered assembly of words which others may read and which hopefully make some sort of sense?

Every day is probably too much, whatever that website says.  At present I am  writing when I feel motivated  – the last post was triggered by an email from the Alzheimer’s Society about a video by  Christopher Eccleston (who I have a bit of a crush on) talking about dementia, produced by Aardman animations (I also have a bit of a crush on Gromit – sorry), so it cried out to be the subject of some writing.  Some topics come to me unprompted in quiet moments – Alchemy was one of those and it just grew as I typed.  See what I mean – random mutterings.

What do any other bloggers think?  Is it something to be done seriously, in a professional manner, every day on one topic or as and when on random topics?    If anyone would like to read  and comment, that is very rewarding especially if they choose to share it, but I enjoy the process in itself.  Is that why others blog, or something more?  Maybe I should buy a book on How to Blog; they do exist; I just googled it … oh dear ….  Maybe I do need to be a ‘writer.’

 

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Alchemy

“Alchemy: a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination … with attempts to convert base metals into gold or find a universal elixir.”

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To me, baking  is alchemy, not in the sense of transforming base metals into gold, unless I have been misreading the recipe,  but in the sense of taking individual chemicals, combining them and adding  heat   so transforming them into something  unique and desirable.

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My mother had magical powers.

She  knew when I had had a bad day at school: had fallen out with my best friend, been told off by my favourite teacher, or been caught in the rain on the way home and just needed something to make me feel the world wasn’t totally against me.  While I trudged home, I just wanted to feel comforted, loved and warm inside and out.

As I opened the back door, I would  be greeted by a wave of  sweet spiced, vanilla warmth; the kettle would be on, my favourite willow patterned plate would be on the table, almost covered in a crispy edged (I still like it like that) slice of dried fruit speckled, sugar topped cake. On a particularly bad day, she would have left a few spoonsful of uncooked mixture which just had to be removed from the bowl before it was washed.   I can see, smell and almost taste it as I write.  The fire would be lit; drier clothes would be airing.  There was no need to talk or even think about my day.  How did Mum know what I needed before the days of mobile phones?  Magic.

Today, while The Husband was carrying out his festive hunter-gathering mission, I was at a loose end and feeling just a little lonely.   I wondered, did I have the makings of a cake in the cupboard?  Yes.  Apron on, baking tins lined, food mixer rescued from the dusty depths of the cupboard behind the back door.  Now to recreate that magic.

I did it all just as Mum did:  chose my elements, mixed, stirred, beat, whisked, spread, applied heat and waited, while the chemical transformation took place.   The smell was the same, the result appeared to be  the same, but it wasn’t  the same.  I’d even sprinkled edible golden glitter on the top  (Well, it’s nearly Christmas); it was crispy at the edges;  I’d  ‘accidentally’ left a spoonful of mix in the bowl to taste, but something was different. There was a missing element.  I can’t find it in any recipe book or periodic table.

My mother would have had that missing element.  I don’t.  I do, however, have that willow patterned plate.

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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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Motivation

Ok,  I am very new to this writing lark, so please be gentle with me.  Two of my friends have recently set up blogs on this site, so I thought – why not?  Why not indeed – well, because their writing is all I would like mine to be.  It is not and is unlikely to be any time soon.  Does that matter?  I don’t know and I guess I am hoping the answer is in the negative.

About me:  I have recently retired from work, having decided to commit myself to befriending work with people living with dementia, in hospital at present, but soon to be community befriending as well.   That makes me sound noble, but I’m not.  Friends have used words like ‘awesome’ – those were younger people; others have said “are you sure?” and “can you cope?”  Well, I guess I can, so far so good.  I’ve met some amazing elderly people, who never fail to make me smile and I hope I make them smile too.  Recently one lady was in fits of giggles at my identity badge!  I don’t blame her.  I feel either like laughing or crying when I look at it.  Tip to self:  smile, don’t grimace when having photo taken for something you are going to be wearing a great deal.  A bit of lipstick doesn’t go amiss either.

Back to the subject i.e. retirement/volunteering/dementia:  my mother had dementia.  Sadly she died two years ago and I know that I didn’t manage her illness very well.   We knew next to nothing about it, assuming it just meant memory problems.   Those of you who are aware, will know it’s so much more and can mean extreme distress and fear for all those involved – not just the person with the illness.  I had fantastic support from the Alzheimer’s Society online Forum, who saved my sanity during many a late night.  The volunteering, therefore, is a way of paying something back and righting the wrongs and misunderstandings of the past, so I am not ‘noble’, ‘special’ or ‘brave.’  My motives are mostly selfish.

Is that wrong?  I don’t know.

 

 

 

 

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