Friday, 16 March 2018

100 Good Things About Growing Old - Numbers 25 to 29

Following the path through sunshine and shade, a little bit steeper, but still beautiful.

25.  I'm still here.

26.  After a brush with the Big C, and an anxious period of waiting for biopsy results, I've had good results which indicate no spread of malignant cells.

27. Friends and family have shown their true worth and goodness, and I do NOT mean that in an ironical way.

28. I don't worry about unimportant things, like what people might think about that awful coat I wear in cold weather.

29. Every day seems like a gift.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

A Country Church

As ever, visiting churches and looking at ancient monuments is a great form of solace.

This Tower at Barnack Church, near Stamford dates back to pre-Conquest times.  There is a Saxon sundial over the window, and a Saxon carving under the clock.  Saxon long and short work can be seen on the left.

Inside the church are some tombs, and a Victorian replacement rood screen.

There is also a carving of Christ in his Majesty.  Debate as to the age of this carving is found in the Church Guide Book.
Some think it is of the same date as the Tower, others that it dates to the 13th century with Saxon influence.

The symbolic gesture of blessing is very similar to that in the Saxon Angel carving at Breedon on the Hill, in the Church of St Mary and St Hardulph, Leicestershire.

I visited last week, having just been to the dentist, and had to explain that I'd rather not have an X-Ray right now, as I will be experiencing a nuclear (in the sense of radio-active) lymph node probe the week after next, and prefer to limit radiation exposure.  Also that the toothache I had been experiencing was in fact due to me clenching and clamping my teeth together so fiercely, whilst asleep, that even my plastic mouthguard could not protect them from the undue pressure.

Just going inside the church at Barnack gave me an instant dopamine shot of feelings of peace and release of tension.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Boxing Day Review.

One of the good things about keeping a blog is that it is quite literally a form of diary.  No-one I know keeps a diary any more, and nor do I.  It is therefore helpful to be able to look back over my records of my feelings on previous Christmases, and compare how I have managed this year.

Last year I had already upset lots of people, and all by Boxing Day morning.  Looking back over yesterday, I am proud to record that I only upset one person, my elder daughter.

 Last year, it was the younger one who appeared to behave selfishly.  This year the older.

 I kept stoom all through the afternoon when she sat reading a book in the sitting room surrounded by the other eight people present, all of whom were amicably keeping conversations going.  She also yawned conspicuously several times, including during the big meal. It wasn't until the last three guests had finally departed, at 9.30 pm, that I lost it.  I was desperate for some peace and quiet and to switch off.  She started wrapping presents and writing cards at 9.45 pm on Christmas Day.  I think and hope we will get over me snapping at her and in any case, when I look back on last year, I have done well.

So now we have just one more big meal to get through, and then farewells tomorrow, and it will all be over for another year. 

Saturday, 16 December 2017

100 Good Things About Growing Old - Number 24 - I FIRMLY don't want any tat. Rather have nothing than tat.

I've written before about the trials and tribulations of Christmas.

The tat, in particular, such as this item received a couple of years back.

I've asked my daughter to buy me something from a charity shop this year.  This simple action has made me feel so much better.

This morning we bought some items in Oxfam, for the tree.  Feels like a step in the right direction.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Books - My Go-To Therapy

As ever, thinking about books and reading has provided the instant solace and comfort I require.   Not chocolate, not a hot bath or a chat with one of my daughters.  Just to sink back into the world of words, and find a like-minded person.

Here's what I found while trawling the internet in search of diversion. Over and under-rated authors, a list the Times Literary Supplement published in 1977.

I enjoyed this a lot - even though I have never heard of one of the commenters listed (Mary Douglas).  Another, Anthony Powell, would himself appear on my own list of totally over-rated authors.

To summarise what I found most satisfying, here are some extracts from the complete article. The pictures are added by me.

Philip Larkin 
(geeky university librarian)

the six novels of Barbara Pym published between 1950 and 1961 which give an unrivalled picture of a small section of middle-class post-war England. She has a unique eye and ear for the small poignancies and comedies of everyday life.
D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love. This is not intended to mean that I think Miss Pym a better novelist than Mr Lawrence, but Women in Love has always seemed to me the least read­able of his novels: boring, turgid, mechanical, ugly, and dominated by the kind of deathly will-power that elsewhere Lawrence always attacked. I seem to remember that Middleton Murry felt the same way about it.

Yupp - totally agree with just about every word of both these paragraphs. 

Bob Dylan
Overrated and underrated: the Bible.
Dylan, so off the wall as ever ....  Picture, just because I love Bob Dylan 
Hugh Trevor-Roper (historian)
Leaving aside the great charlatans, like AndrĂ© Malraux and Teilhard de Chardin, who are hors concours, I consider the whole Bloomsbury group—excepting only J. M. Keynes—to be the most overrated literary phenomenon of our times. Above all, Lytton Strachey: Strachey who has recently been accorded a two-volume biography, and whose only achievement was to trivialize history, to empty it of its real content and meaning, in order to raise a few complacent titters from the radical chic of his time.

Picture - Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf

This one is more complex...
I love the analysis, sharply incisive, well-written, and I agree that generally the Bloomsbury Group are over-rated.  I do, however, make an exception for Virginia Woolf.  She was a radical feminist, a wonderful sister, a thoughtful and insecure person  .... And could put it all down in words, so effortlessly articulate.... Yes, I can always find something to interest me when I pick up a book by or about Virgina Woolf.

So, now, having cheered myself up, I am ready to return to normal cheerful and active state of mind.

Feeling Spiky and a Little Frosty

Just returned from the hospital, where skin consultant informed me that removal of my mole was "Urgent" and he would schedule an operation ASAP.

On the bright side, looking at a table of incidence of cancer worldwide, published yesterday in The Times, skin cancer statistically is the lowest-appearing form of cancer for men.  In women, incidence is so statistically insignificant, it does not appear at all on the graph.

Just got to keep plugging on, and counting my blessings.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

100 Good Things About Growing Old - Number 23

Suddenly, looking at Mother-of-the Bride dresses seems so much more interesting than worrying about the state of the world.