Saturday, August 30, 2008
I took one short ride with him then, just to the other side of the village, but it proved to be a major operation to get me into the passenger seat. As you can imagine, it is not possible to step straight in as one does with a car, and the built-in step-up is 16" above the ground. Well, I could lift my leg up far enough to put my foot on the step, but it then required a considerable heave upwards, plus a twist, to get one's bottom on the seat. On that occasion it took Richard pushing from behind, and his mate in the driving seat pulling from in front, to get me there. Since then we have been talking of getting a portable foldaway step that we could carry in the van if I wish to travel with him in the future - which I most certainly do.
I love to travel by road with Richard. We used to do regular five-hour journeys together at one time, when he would drive me from Hertfordshire to Shropshire for an annual Growing Old Disgracefully event. He is a relaxed and easygoing driver and does not mind stopping, or turning round and going back to see something, or anything that I may wish. Once we stopped off to go to a garage sale we passed on the way, which we both thoroughly enjoyed. We can talk comfortably and easily together about almost anything, like mates more than like mother and son; he is certainly on my wavelength, and I hope that I am on his.
But it's beginning to look as though this will never happen again. He arrived last night for an overnight stay, and we took the opportunity to study the problem of getting me into the van, with the aid of a small step stool. We tried it forwards, we tried it backwards, we tried it sideways, but there was no way that I could make the necessary movements to get up there on my own. Even with my son pushing behind it didn't really work - it seems that ageing, stiffening skeletons simply cannot make the sudden heaves, leaps and twists that are required to get into a large van. It might possibly be easier if he fixes a couple of grab-handles to the doorframe, but it's a lot to ask him to do, for the occasional journey I might take with him in the future.
"Bugger being old" I wailed miserably, as we gave up the effort and retreated into the house, and was comforted by a massive hug. But unless the neighbours were busy snapping us through their curtains in the dusk, I am afraid there are no pictures recording this event!!!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
While I was in Bollington, some friends joined me for lunch on board the White Nancy Cruising Restaurant, on the Macclesfield Canal. It was a mixed experience: the food was very good, but it was hard to see enough of the canal itself and the passing countryside, and photographs were not easy to take through the windows. When the meal was over however, there was the possibility of standing up front and taking pictures without intervening glass.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
And as if that wasn't enough, I seem to have swallowed a large lump of broken tooth from a back molar ..... never felt it go ..... Chinese mush is hardly challenging, even for elderly much-filled teeth, so it must have gone with the handful of nuts and crystallised fruits I had for 'afters'.
The dentist can fill or extract the tooth, but I don't want him to extract my brain, and I'm afraid he can't fill the holes in it either. I've had better evenings .....
..... but I've had worse ones too.
Monday, August 11, 2008
The cows, which are bred for their beef, are a relatively rare French breed called Bazadaise. They know when it is time to come for a feed, and wander in from the field, apparently without being called. The sheep are also bred for their meat.
Billy Bull has already picked out his next partner and will stick close to her until she becomes willing. I know, because I watched from my bedroom window with my camera poised for a long time, waiting for him score, but was disappointed!
The poultry in the paddock provide fresh eggs for the guests' English cooked breakfast. The kitchen garden has home-grown blackberries and Tayberries. These berries were freshly picked for our breakfast too. And being off alcohol at the time, I drank the most delicious home-made elderflower cordial.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
[This is our part of the cottage from the garden.]
Interesting idea in the paper today – facetious but nontheless interesting. Discussing how to use waste to produce compost – an Australian has been doing composting trials on cattle carcasses (in case we get foot-and-mouth). He stuck 16 cattle in pits and added organic matter like straw and woodchips. They were buried in pairs and he exhumed them two at a time, every three weeks for six months. After 3 weeks the bones looked steam cleaned. After 6 months they had good compost. Suggestion was then made that instead of heading to the crematorium you could head to the compostorium to continue being useful after death.
Now there’s an idea.
One of my greatest regrets is that, not only shall I never see my grandchildren grow old, but also that I shall not see how the world at large develops, and how mankind manages to save our planet, or if indeed he does! Green burials have become pretty commonplace in my lifetime, and perhaps, as we take recycling ever more seriously, there will eventually be a move towards recycling our corporeal selves in this novel way. A compostorium does not seem likely to have the appeal of burial in a woodland glade or park, but to the scientists and rationalists among us, it might be seen as an appropriate and acceptable means of disposal.
UPDATE :: I just found this article on "the death industry" on the web, and thought it well worth reading. It's dated 2003, so compostoriums/compostoria (?) are not such a new idea. You have to read to the bottom to get to them though. http://www.theecologist.org/pages/archive_detail.asp?content_id=382
It has become traditional for the women members of the group to put on a small comedy act in costume to illustrate one of the songs while it is being sung. In the past (for those of you who know Jake's work) we have done The Ladies' Basic Freedoms Polka, The Castleford Ladies' Magic Circle and Sister Josephine; this year it was The Bantam Cock. We all made ourselves as feathery and beaky as possible, and clucked and foraged between the verses, while the young bantam (played by the son of the singer and the guitarist) strutted about amongst us. Any one of us that he succeeded in poking with his feather duster considered herself 'tupped', and let out a loud sqwark and flapped hugely. We had rehearsed our movements carefully in a very large room, but found ourselves performing on about a 3' depth of stage in front of the curtain, and the whole thing was horrendous and hilarious at the same time.
[I'm the one second from the right, wearing my childhood sunbonnet!]
Thursday, August 07, 2008
A good friend has gently pointed out to me that, at my age, my 'bloggies' are going to start worrying if I do not post for long periods. Of course, I should have realised, and there is nothing other than laziness, and perhaps an occasional bout of low spirits, to prevent me making a brief posting to say:
Sorry, but I'm too busy / poorly / pissed off to post just now - but I'm definitely not dead!