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If you want to understand what an expanded consciousness looks like, all you have to do is have tea with a four-year-old.

Alison Gopnik

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WATERSTONES Books of the Month

There’s one called Time Travelling With A Hamster.  Just saying, J, just saying….

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 When you slip on a banana peel people laugh at you. But when you tell people you slipped on a banana peel, it’s your laugh.

Nora Ephron

To My Aunt

And so another funeral.  This time my aunt.  I was very close to her when I was a child.  My family used to travel down to her house for Christmas every year, a long tortuous car journey.  There was my Uncle, cousins, brothers and grandparents, plus all the neighbours coming in for sherry on Christmas morning.  It was a big house built in the late 1960’s I guess, with a main bedroom which instead of having a fourth sold wall, was open onto the living room below.  They eventually

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I Need A New Job

Suddenly I find I am going to be needing work from 15 May.  That was rather unexpected.

HaHaHopscotch

At present I am doing at least 63 jobs to keep the wolves from the door.  One of these is helping out a Garden Historian friend who has a business called HaHaHopscotch, which helps bring the past alive for children through the re-creation of past childhood games.  Last weekend we participated in the St George’s Festival in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens organised by the Vauxhall Trust.

Children were gathered together and had various races and games: (wooden) egg and spoon, three – legged race, tug of war, sack race, wheelbarrow race, hoop and stick , battlecock and shuttledore and others.  The children were all great – enthusiastic and well behaved and came in a variety of ages and heights.  Although discipline is a bit harder when you don’t know their names, children do seem to get along really well when they don’t know each other, and older ones are very kind and caring with younger ones.  As can be seen from the photo, this Mum who grew up in Burundi was a whizz with a hoop and stick.   A fine time was had by all.

Details can be found here:  HAHAHOPSCOTCH

Quote

Knowledge comes from taking things apart: analysis. But wisdom comes from putting things together.

John A. Morrison

 

Watching

One of my favourite things to do on holiday (and I know this will come as a shock to many of you) is to sit in a cafe.  Occasionally I take a photo of the view from my seat at the table.  Then I look back at my photos and have no recollection of which place I was in.

Grrrrrrrump

Well it’s hot.  I don’t mind the heat and I love the seasons in this country but when we go from snow to heatwave in what feels like 4 weeks, then I get grumpy.  Actually I am grumpy generally.  I’ve had a number of deaths amongst family and friends in recent months (which is why the blog has been a bit subdued) and I know the generation above me in the family will soon be no longer be around.   Being old is harder than I can imagine, even witnessing it first-hand.  I  understand how people give up on life, when they just feel too exhausted to go on.  The very elderly who manage to sustain an independent life fall between the two stools of the social services and the healthcare system – which don’t seem to work together.  I know people think it’s great when old people live independently, and it is that very independence that keeps them going, but life when you are old is unbelievably hard when you have to struggle to do the simplest of things.  For instance getting out of bed.  Washing.  Going to the toilet.  Cooking is very hard.  It involves heat, and bending down and lifting things.  You can’t impose on people what you think will make life easier.  If they have never had a microwave, they aren’t going to start over with one now.  Getting a cleaner in is an obvious solution, but what if you have never lived with a stranger coming into your home?  So the cleaning is kept to a minimum or not done at all.  If you are managing your failing body (arthritis, a multitude of pills to take etc) and getting by day to day, then the social care system and the health system pretty much ignore you.  There is no holistic duty of care by them anymore.  That is something the generation above me has seen disappear, and they find that very hard.  Care in hospitals can be amazingly good but things aren’t joined up.  Departments don’t talk to each other.  Everyone seems to work in a bubble.  The duty of care by a taxi driver or a supermarket assistant who just go slightly out of their way to help makes so, so much difference to the quality of someone’s life.

If you have a network of family, friends and neighbours to keep an eye on you, that is all good,  but how people cope who do not have this is beyond me.  There must be so much acute loneliness in this world.

Forgive me.  This was intended to be a review of Caroline Or Change.

Off to work now.

Grumpy.

 

Quote

Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can.

Ralph Aldo Emerson