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Saturday 31 December 2016


For three years - Nov. 2014 to Nov. 2016 inclusive we've coped with me being hospitalized (2014) and him 2015 and 2016. At least his came under the heading of elective surgery; for mine there was no option. Nov. 2016 marked the passing of two years since my op. Officially, it has mended as well as it's going to be. I've adjusted as the saying goes. Here's hoping that neither of us have to cope with ops and nursing for the foreseeable future.

Christmas has been and gone but, it has left behind some unknowns. The card list has omissions, something unheard of in previous years. There's an underlying niggle - might some be lost in the post? Wondering if some folk refrained from sending cards this year or might one particular person no longer be with us.

On a positive note, MJM neighbours three have birthdays in Nov. Dec. and Jan. Knowing how eateries struggle to cope in Nov. and Dec. we sometimes celebrate out birthdays all together by going for a Chinese meal at our favourite place. Something to look forward to in the near future.

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Wolcum Yole

Benjamin Britten 'A Ceremony of Carols' is the essence of Christmas. 

Doing the last bit of shopping this morning, I was struck by the frenetic trolley stuffing of those that just had to buy more and more. I had a few odds and ends in mine, but I saw tandem shoppers, those that had a trolley each rushing round to fill both. Then there was the bloke behind me at the checkout whose trolley was all alcoholic beverages.

Social media is stuffed with images of Christmas trees of all shapes, sizes and decorations. It's also the place for folk to dwell on those no longer around, anniversaries of deaths and funerals.

November to January deaths seem more telling. Now my Christmas card list contains more crossings out again this year. 10th Dec. 2006 Pol died and her funeral was on the 18th Dec. For ever more those dates have those memories. November is when several long-time OUers departed this life. My former colleague always has a difficult time at Christmas because her husband died on Christmas Eve. 

My personal loss was January 1984, a month that rocked my life permanently off its even keel.

Advert slots are for perfumes and gifts, with twee saccharine versions of Christmas. 

My neighbour calls it grumble time, quite rightly. She always wants to be left be from Christmas Eve to after New Year. Yet, 3 different sets of people 'want her' for Christmas. The run up is marked by Jan & Ron squabbling over what to eat. Carol and Dave too squabble and make timetable changes depending on who of their family wants to do what. Paul & Ann think neighbour ought not to be alone and vie to get her to be with them.

News Alert!
There are those that do not mind Not joining in with the Revelry. Especially those like my neighbour who for health reasons has a very restricted diet. She's happy in her own company, knowing the her neighbours are nearby just in case. 

Christmas can be a time of ill-tempered and totally selfish behaviour. In the run up so many folk a stressed out trying to achieve the unattainable. 

Then there's the myth of childhood Christmases past. 

The highlights of my Christmases were walking to church and taking part in various services. Only to return home to find 'armed neutrality' and a feeling of 'stepping on eggshells'. No details. Except for the time we saved Christmas by rescuing the food and heaving a sigh of relief because mother stormed out. (Not an unusual occurrence).

Ending on a happier note...
There were the times when as part of a choir, I sang at performances of
Benjamin Britten - 'A Ceremony of Carols' and Handel's 'Messiah'.

Saturday 10 December 2016

for what it is worth

December sucks good style...
Far too many posts pretending bonhomie. 

December 10th happens to be the birthday of my neighbour and the brother of my long-time best friend's husband.

Another anniversary is not as welcome as it's 10 years since my friend's mother gave up the ghost. Making December 18th a decade since Mrs H's funeral. It was a grey day and I headed north to meet up. The part I remember most clearly was by the graveside and the memory haunts me still.

You know someone is your long-term friend when both of you attended your respective parents' funerals.

Being there for the significant events in other's lives is a sign of long-term friendship.

So whilst those that have 'n' number of folk to share the celebrations; others have almost nil, nada. 

My memory cherishes the time when I spent part of December in a small Derbyshire village; accompanying Auntie Doris to St. Matthew's Carol Service.

Now Christmas is tarnished yet again...

A brief comment to the effect that Fred might be suffering from dementia.

Fred a rock upon which almost 50 years has stood.

The guy that has always been so ebullient, so full of life writ brought low.

He achieved so much...Ribblesdale Secondary Modern basically let him use his practical skills and that was all.
ICI taught him and employed him as Apprentice Welder; only to dismiss him once he qualified.
Next, he went to Israel on VSO Voluntary Service Overseas; returning as a shadow of his former self (welding in those relentless temperatures).

Then there was a curate's wife who encouraged him to try nursing (mental health). He worked and accrued qualifications at Calderstones. There he used his compassion and his talent for everything artistic.

Next, he raised funds and helped a boy with cystic fibrosis.

Then he bought and refitted a coach to take disadvantaged youngsters on short breaks.

The next venture was to buy and remodel an old cottage. At the time I was at college only returning home for holidays. A must do was to spend time with Fred. He happily showed off the cottage and how homely he'd made it. That was when he rediscovered education along with literacy and numeracy skills.

An old 4 or 5 storey warehouse across the road was his next ambitious target. I remember visiting when he'd discovered an old well there. One side of the building was open to the elements. He'd taken it all back to the original stone walls. Access was only by stepladder as he'd taken it all back to scratch.

Another lasting memory is the house warming party. He'd created a 'granny' apartment using the first floor for his elderly parents.

To think that everything knowledge-wise that was Fred is being eaten away is soul-destroying.