Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Can it be Different?

At 5pm this evening I was about to board the bus for Aberdeen and then onwards to London. Across in Washington DC it was 12 noon. At last, after 8 long and painful years, we were about to see the end of George Bush’s time as USA president. Barak Obama was about to be sworn into office.

And suddenly the world seemed a better, more hopeful place. Am I wrong to have such high expectations? Well few, if any, politicians in my lifetime have fulfilled my initial hopes. But this time I do think it might be different. We have a person in the highest office of the world’s most powerful country who certainly has intelligence and also appears to have integrity and pragmatism.

And so I hope for a better, less divisive world. The audacity of hope.

Monday, 19 January 2009

All Change

For years I had somehow assumed that .life would continue as before indefinitely. I would go to work, have the occasional holiday and enjoy myself as best I could. Day would follow night. Summers would turn into winters and back again. Nothing much would alter.

Then three years ago I was made redundant which rather shattered the work certainties. And last April my mother died which changed the family certainties.

And this weekend another certainty changed. I was up in Keith to help my Dad move into sheltered housing and out of the house in which he had lived for 40 years - the house in which I had lived for my last two years of schooling and had visited regularly ever since.

The move went very well, and Dad is happy in the smaller, warmer place. He no longer has to think about the garden, or repairs to the house. He no longer faces the memories of the past as he walks through empty rooms. He no longer has to climb stairs. And he now has a warden on call. For someone of 92, this is a comforting change.

But neither my sister nor I want the family home. So it has to be sold. But it was really disconcerting to see it with a ‘for sale’ sign outside. And suddenly strangers are going round to view it with the possibility of buying it. Yes of course on a practical level, I would like to see it s ell. But on an emotional level, it’s all quite difficult.

Time moves on and things do change. I must not be afraid of that. I simply need to accept the changes and move on.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Alcohol-free January

I am well into my alcohol-free month. This was a spur-of-the-moment decision and not a well planned intention. But I just decided to keep clear of alcohol in January. Yes I guess it was partly to ensure that I could. But it was also to see if at the end of that period I would feel any better or weigh any less.

It has not been easy. Sometimes I long for a glass of wine. And I am not sure if I do feel any better, yet. Perhaps my liver is relishing the respite from having to cope with regular alcohol. And I am beginning to lose some weight.

I still have this allergy, but I cannot blame that on lack of alcohol. Let's see how things are in say a weeks time.

Saturday, 10 January 2009


I have developed an allergy. Trouble is, I don't know to what I am allergic. It started in mid December. And it is still a problem. From time to time, I start to get very itchy somewhere on my body. If I scratch, then that part of my body gets very hot, turns very red and gets even more itchy. Five minutes later it is fine again. This particularly happens on the back on my neck, on my back and underneath my arms. I have started taking anti-histamine tablets which are having a beneficial effect.

I guess I will not solve this until I discover to that I am allergic and stop taking whatever it is. I don't want to have to take tablets indefinitely. I am not particularly aware of suddenly eating or drinking anything different to normal. After much thought, I have decided that the only change in December was that I bought a bottle of 'Thursday Plantation' Tea Tree hand and body lotion from the organic shop in Hitchin. So I will ensure that I do not use that and hopefully I might see some improvement in my condition. It hasn't happened yet, though. It is not particularly painful, it is just very irritating. Literally.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

New Year in Scotland

My Dad and I were kindly invited next door to see in the New Year. During the day on Jan 1st I mainly stayed at home. This picture was taken in the back garden.

Then on the 2nd Andrew kindly drove from Murthley to Keith to pick me up and take me back to stay in Murthley with his uncle and aunt for a couple of days.

It was a freezing cold day and I was worried about the state of the roads, but Andrew arrived safely, we went for lunch in Fochabers and headed off for Murthley, with me driving, before dark. I had to concentrate on the driving, but was occasionally able to look at the scenery, which was spectacular. The trees and bushes were still white with frost. The sun started to set and the sky turned red. And there was a layer of freezing fog, but only for a few feet above the ground. So I remember just past Grantown looking over to the Cairngorms, the setting sun lighting up the silvery treetops and reflecting off the layer of fog which had blanketed the ground. It was beautiful.

On Saturday Andrew and I drove via Crieff to just outside Callendar where we met my second cousin and his wife, whom I had not seen for years. Again it was a crisp and cold day and we had a wonderful walk along the disused railway line, before having lunch at the Lade Inn. Then we journeyed back via Stirling. In the evening we had dinner at the Tayside Inn near Murthley. It had been a good day.

I wasn't looking forward to the drive home on Sunday, but actually it was not a bad journey and I was home in North London by 4pm.

I always enjoy my visits to Scotland. Of course this one was tinged with the sadness which came with remembering that it was my first New Year without my mother. Nonetheless it was an enjoyable visit. Now I must get ready for work on Monday and for the year ahead.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

2009 - what will it bring?

No long list of resolutions this year. They would in any case be the same resolutions as last year, indeed any of the past number of years - all to do with getting healthier, making better use of my time etc.

Yes I am going to give up alcohol for 4 weeks in January, just to ensure that I can and to see if I feel any better after that period. Yes I will try to waste less time on the internet and doing passive things and more time doing active things. I will try to reduce my procrastination.

But before that turns into a list of resolutions, I will stop - and simply resolve to do my best in 2009 to deal with whatever life throws at me in a positive and accepting way. I will smile thought adversity and do my best to enjoy the 57th year of my life. As I walk and eat and travel, I will be where I am, accept where I am and move forward from wherever I am. I will be good to others and also be good to myself. Onwards and Upwards.