Saturday, 19 July 2014

Odds, sods and rambles

Rules for a happy marriage
I have decided to start a set of ‘Rules for a Happy Marriage’ posts.  They won't be in any sort of order so here (Thanks to MumaLeary) is
Rules for a Happy Marriage #1 - 
If you have consumed more than half a £1 (120 gram / 4.2 oz) bar of Cadbury’s Whole Nut whilst your other half is out, you MUST finish the bar and dispose of all evidence before their return lest you are thought of as a) a total pig and b) very mean.

What would be your first rule??  Humorous or serious responses both appreciated. 

A fridge magnet
Earlier this year I decided I would like to collect fridge magnets of the cities in which my friends and acquaintances live.  (A slight hint there, folks.  Subtlety is not my middle name.)  Before I took that decision I had already received a few.  I have identified where they are of and who sent them.  With the exception of this one.   

Can anyone help by telling me where it is?  Once I know where it is I shall recall who was kind enough to send it.  Perhaps you read Russian (or whatever language it is) or perhaps you sent it?  

Golfing weather!

On Friday it was 25ºC.  Too hot.  The perspiration was pouring off me.

The British Open Golf Championship is being played just down the road at Hoylake, Wirral.  And for the first time in history they are teeing off at two tees at the same time.  We had two days of sunshine and heat and now this morning we had thunder and lightning in the early hours and they are concerned about making sure everyone gets their third round in today.  There are some happy ducks on the local ponds but the golfers and caddies are getting soggy.  It is traditional for the leaders to tee off at 3pm but they are so concerned about the potential for lightning delays that the leaders will be starting at one minute past 11am.  That will mess up the TV schedules across the world

 Leading at the halfway stage is Rory McIlroy, MBE (born 4 May 1989) - a Northern Irish professional golfer from Holywood in County Down who is a member of both the European and PGA Tours. He is a former World Number One and a two-time major champion. He won the 2011 U.S. Open, setting a record score of 16-under-par on his way to an eight-stroke victory. In 2012 he won the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island by a record eight strokes. 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

I’m back

I’m back
I hope !
Posts may be a bit infrequent for a while but with good fortune and a following wind Scriptor Senex has the writing bug again.

A banana a day keeps the doctor away…
For fifteen days at the end of June, start of July, I lay in bed and hardly moved.  I didn’t read. I didn’t listen to music.  I just lay there, in pain, exhausted and depressed.  Gradually over the last few days I have picked myself up again.   But this is what it feels like.

And the steamroller stays on you.  It just lies on top of you defying your every effort to move until you finally give up and accept you aren’t getting up again.  Somehow the basic instinct not to wet or dirty the bed survives (thank Heaven) and you pull yourself along the wall to the toilet when you need it.  I tried having a bath a few times to see if that would enervate me but just ended up back in bed.

Then one day I went out into the garden in the early morning.  I was dizzy and disorientated, being up for the first time for over a fortnight.  I can’t recall how I managed to get up and ended up in the garden.  But the sun was just rising, the birds were singing and the garden was flourishing with flowers that hadn’t been out when I my body packed up in June.  I sat on the patio and dead-headed some of the flowers in the pots there.  Partner-who-loves-tea arrived with a cup of tea and life suddenly seemed a bit more copeable with.  (I know there is no such word as copeable, thank you Spillchucker, but it suits me to invent it for this purpose!)

 Since then I have een my counsellor.  I have had coffee out.  I have been to a garden centre and bought some plants and bird foods (retail therapy!).

 Passion Flower and Solanum – 
climbers for the new arch through the natural hedge.

And, more importantly in terms of contribution to the household, I have put a couple of washes on and dried the clothes in the garden on our new rotary airer.   Who knows what I might get up to tomorrow?

Richard was happy to cook me a dinner every day and although I did try to eat it I just found the effort too much on many days.  A shame after his kindness and hard work but I ended up living on bananas.  They are so easy to eat.  No effort involved though I did (seriously) find it hard to peel one of them!  I have now discovered that according to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.  An article in The Mind Unleashed in February 2014 gave a lot of other ways in which bananas can benefit your health.  It’s a shame that Jo is allergic to them!  Especially since Richard uses the juicer to make a super ice-cream-like dessert that is composed purely of banana.

Best wishes
During my time off-line I have had many good wishes in many forms from friends far and wide.  Postcards have arrived with cheering themes and messages.  Who could not smile when this arrived from Katya in Ukraine?

E-mails arrived and although most were not read until a day or so ago I already knew the people writing them would have done so.  It’s very humbling that folk from as far and wide as Barbados and Bulgaria were thinking of me.

And Washington Bear arrived.  He joins Teddy who has no name other than Teddy but is a much loved chap who sits on the landing watching us pass to and fro.   Teddy was a present from Jo a few years ago after I had commented that I had always wanted a teddy and could not recall ever having one.  This is Washington.   

As Washington’s donor said ‘Who can look at a teddy and not smile?’

He sits on my chair downstairs and helps me read the postcards.  At first I was a bit concerned that he couldn’t read properly but we’ve since discovered he’s slightly short-sighted.

One of the e-mails that affected me most is self-explanatory –

Dear John,
You don't know me. I just discovered your blog "Rambles from my Chair" while researching the line "Twould ring the bells of Heaven". I'd been re-reading the Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny, a Canadian writer, who used it in one of her books. (I learn more new things this way!)
Anyway, I subscribed to your blog and was sorry that my first receipt was "I'm Offline." I can't pretend to know what you are going through. We all go through "it" but the forms vary and you are visiting some hard times. I just wanted you be aware that I wish you well and will hold you in my thoughts. The world is such a rough place both physically and psychologically. But remember that our world is also in a state of constant flux so bad times change (eventually) into something else. Compassion and caring are out there.
No need to reply. Just wanted you to know that someone in the US is wishing you well.

Just reading that again as I put it in this blog posting makes my body tingle.  There are some very caring people out there!

So thank you everyone and I shall try not to worry you again for a while…

Monday, 9 June 2014

I’m Off-line

As many of my readers will be aware I suffer from chronic pain (amongst other things).  This in turn leads to chronic exhaustion.  It also leads to frustration that I can’t plan to do anything because I don’t know how I’ll be from one minute to the next, which in turn leads to….  And so it goes on.  As a result of all this lot I sometimes suffer from clinical depression.

Clinical depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days.  We all go through spells of feeling down, but when you're depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.  Some people still think that depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition. They're wrong. It is a mental illness, a real illness with real symptoms, and it's not a sign of weakness or something you can "snap out of" by "pulling yourself together".

In many cases (including mine) the depression comes and goes and it can have one simple trigger or it can be brought on by a combination of problems.  Last year, for example, fighting with the Department of Work and Pensions over whether I was fit for work brought me to my knees for weeks on end.  At the moment it is a combination of things that is doing it; none of which was helped by someone running into the back of Jo's car and damaging it, and, more importantly, giving her whiplash.

One contributor to my depression is undoubtedly stress.  Stress about problems family members are going through, stress about the repairs the house needs, stress about money, stress about ‘keeping up with things’.  To quote Ruby Wax -

"We are not equipped for this century, it’s too hard, too fast, and too full of fear; we just don’t have the bandwidth. Our brains can’t take so much information in a world where we’re bombarded by bad news and force-fed information. I can just about take in the weather then I’m exhausted. You open a newspaper, everyone’s dead. We’re only supposed to know what our neighbour is up to; if the woman next door to you is having sex with the man next door to her we need to know; but four doors down and it’s none of our business."

My brother, GB, watches the news on television every day. He has the mental stamina to absorb what is going on in war-torn countries and the world of politics.  Like Ruby Wax, I can just about cope with the weather…

But all these things are as nothing to the feelings I went through when Partner-who-loves-tea and I lost our first-born son.  And now, the daughter of friends of ours and her partner are going through the same ‘process’.  Their six month old son Archie died last week of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – i.e. a cot death.  

 Archie Tom David Jobe
22 November 2013 - 2 June 2014

In a way I can imagine what they are going through – ‘been there, done that.’   But in another way I can’t.  Every bereavement is different just as the child is different.  And also, after twenty seven years the brain inures one so you can only vaguely recall how painful that time was.  But even such vague recollections are crippling.  My heart goes out to Katie and Adam and their families.

Because I’m feeling down I’m going off-line for a while.  I may be here on the computer at times but I probably won’t be popping in to say ‘Hello’ on your blogs or making an effort to ‘keep up’ with every post from everybody.

So until I ‘pull myself together’ again I’ll say ‘Cheerio’.

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