Saturday, June 30, 2007

Old letters

Amongst my husband's papers I came across this letter written more than 200 years ago. I have copied the punctuation and spacing as nearly as I could, and used an 'f' to replace an 's' where double 'ss' occurs, as in the original. What I cannot copy is the perfectly aligned, regular, sloping script with elegant capitals and curlicues.

Leeds 10th June 1799.

Honored Parents,

The advanced period of the present half-year calls me to the Discharge of that Duty which your parental Care lays upon me. I trust I am fully sensible of your affectionate Kindnefs,in giving me so good an Opportunity of Improvement,and of qualifying myself to pafs through the various Duties of Society with Credit and Advantage. How far I have made a proper Use of these Privileges,my own performances and the Account of my Instructor will enable you to determine. I have applied to those branches of Education,which your Care pointed out as necefsary for the Line of Life in which I am likely to be placed: And moral Acquirements and useful Information have been carefully cultivated by Admonition and the perusal of such Books as have been put into my Hands.This specimen will show you what Improvement I have made in Writing;and I flatter myself that upon Examination,you will find me equally improved in every other Part of my Learning.Am desired to present respectful Compliments from Mr & Mrs Kemplay.I beg my Love to my Brother & Sister,and Respects to all where due.

With Gratitude & Duty I subscribe myself,
Honored Parents,
Your very affectionate Son,
John Linley

I can't help wondering if they are the young man's own words, or if perhaps he was taking dictation from his Instructor in Writing!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Finished business

I am a terrible one for starting projects which interest and enthuse me, then letting them lie unfinished when some newer excitement comes along. This results not only in a cluttered mind, as you flail around mentally trying to decide between what you want to do and what needs doing, but also in physical clutter in an ever-widening circle around your workstation. Eventually there comes a point where you scream to yourself - (internally if not actually) - that this can't go on, you can no longer function, and something must be done! So last weekend I decided to zap two of these unfinished projects and get them off my conscience and off my work surfaces.

I had, on different occasions, promised to send old photographs from my collection to organisations who were building up archives of the past. The first offer was to my old school, St Christopher's in Letchworth, about which I have written in my other blog. The Old Scholars Club has a website now and they are trying to build up a gallery of old photographs.

This composite picture of the buildings and history of the school was painted by architectural artist Carl Laubin. Some of you may be familiar with a similar composition he did of the National Trust Properties, entitled National Trust Capriccio. If you want to see some of his other work look here.
The second and similar offer was made to the heritage centre in the town where my husband and I had our first home. I visited there recently and wrote a poem about it. I had offered various old booklets and programmes for their records, and photographs which they can scan into a computer in their Discovery Centre, where people can come and look at them.

This unexceptional little snap is part of my record of a Festival which was held in Bollington in 1968; I have delighted in finding it again because of the capture of my third son joyously releasing his gas-filled balloon.

All this has meant a lot of selection and scanning to be done by me. And then I had to find suitable containers in which to pack up the various photographs, booklets, and CDs safely. In the end I found myself vandalising my stocks of stationery and stuff, to release some nice flat boxes that would hold the items rigid inside a padded envelope. After four days of concentrated application to the tasks, both projects were complete and went into the post yesterday. I am left with a great sense of satisfaction, and a touch of what I presume to be Repetitive Strain Injury in my right shoulder.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Not been in the mood ...

... for blogging, lately. I've suddenly found myself having one of those runs when everything seems to have a problem with functioning properly. It's not been the mechanical equipment, or the electronics this time, but the poor old body machine, that modern medicine can keep alive, but cannot keep free of ailments and impairments.

It began with my osteopath taking a look at my posture and saying she thought I was shrinking, because my legs were looking longer, compared with my body, than how she remembered me. I am certainly at least 2" shorter than I was when young, so my GP referred me for a Dexa Scan to measure my bone density. I'm waiting for that.

Then I woke up one night, put on the light to go to the bathroom, and found I could barely see out of my right eye - everything was cloudy. It passed off in 15-20 minutes, but my GP said it might be a TIA or ministroke, and she would send me for a cardiovascular check to make sure the carotid arteries are not furred up. I'm still waiting for that.

I saw my ophthalmologist too, to be on the safe side. He found no cause for the sudden failure of vision in the right eye, but detected a cloudiness in the left eye which is one of the known complications of cataract surgery, and goes by the splendid name of posterior capsular opacification. Fortunately a simple laser treatment can put that right. I'm waiting for that too.

Meanwhile I have some routine dental treatment to be getting on with, and I can at least rejoice in the fact that my mammogram was clear!

The dentist has asked me to fill in a medical form, including current medication and past hospitalisations. When I look at the long list of surgeries I have undergone in my almost 80 years - how many times I have been cut and pasted, as it were - I do occasionally wonder if the extra years I have gained on my mother and grandmother have been worth it. But then, I consider my present quality of life, and I know I would still choose to live on if it came to the crunch.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ten things God won't ask

I think this has some timely reminders for us, although I don't go quite the whole way with it. These are good principles for living whether you believe in a god or not.

God won’t ask what kind of car you drove, He’ll ask how many people you drove who didn’t have transportation.

God won’t ask the square footage of your house, He’ll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.

God won’t ask about the clothes you had in your closet, He’ll ask how many you helped to clothe.

God won’t ask what your highest salary was, He’ll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.

God won’t ask what your job title was, He’ll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.

God won’t ask how many friends you had, He’ll ask how many people you were a friend to.

God won’t ask in what neighbourhood you lived, He’ll ask how you treated your neighbours.

God won’t ask about the colour of your skin, He’ll ask about the content of your character.

God won’t ask why it took you so long to seek salvation, He’ll lovingly take you to your mansion in heaven, and not to the gates of Hell.

God won’t have to ask how many people you showed this to, He already knows your decision.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Stunning photography

If you watched Countryfile on BBC 1 this morning, you may have been struck by the fabulous photographs of the Lake District, taken on a daily basis by retired postman Tony Richards. I only caught the end of it, so rushed to my computer to log on to his website and get a good eyeful. Firstly I followed the link from the BBC Countryfile website:
This took me straight in to a magnificent series of pictures. When I got to the bottom of the page, I clicked on a button to return to "The Cam", and found myself on Tony's home page, which you can also reach directly on this link: Tony only puts up one day's pictures at a time, but at the bottom of his home page you will find a number of worthwhile links, including one called "This week on the Cam", which gives Tony's pictures for the past week. There are also CDs of past series available for purchase.