Muddy Waters, Revisited…

History does repeat itself, and to prove it, this is what happened early last year…

Getting an appointment with my doctor is becoming impossible these days, as he must be the most popular person in Petersfield, that’s all I can say. For several days I tried, finally giving up and making do with another doctor.

I wasn’t expecting much, to be honest, for me and doctors don’t normally get on. I swear they think I am a malingerer or something.

To be fair, she did check me over quite thoroughly I thought and did her best to assure me that there was nothing in my head that shouldn’t be there. The earache and four-week-old headache were dismissed, as it didn’t keep me awake at night so couldn’t possibly be that bad.  I don’t think she believed a word about my constant giddiness and nausea.  When I tried to describe the way my brain seems to ‘slide’ sometimes, I could tell she thought I was barking. A typical hypochondriac with possible dementia thrown in for good measure.

I left the surgery with a prescription for something to help with nausea, and when I got back home, I checked this drug out on the internet. Turned out to be a strong antipsychotic, not be given to the elderly or anyone with dubious brain activity. Taking it under these conditions, they said, “could result in death.”

Needless to say, that prescription found its way into the bin a bit sharpish. Whatever is wrong with my brain will just have to get on with it, or go away. I know which I would prefer!

In an endeavour to ease my symptoms, I decide to cut back my workload and time spent on the blessed computer. The optician had offered to darken my reading glasses to help with the glare, so I thought the future could be doable.

Once I took a good look at the situation, I realised I was on my own regarding my future.  Assuming of course, that I had one. It was up to me to find a system that would work, as the alternative didn’t bear thinking about. War had been declared between me and everything I wanted to do.

My eyes would grudgingly allow me a little time at the PC/laptop/kindle before throwing in the towel, so I had to come up with a decent routine.

The problem with my knees was more easily solved, a comfortable pair of kneepads and I was good to go. Something I was pleased about, for I tend to do a lot of work on the floor. (don’t ask!)

The constant tiredness, headaches, and arthritis would be harder to manage, but not impossible with the help of copious amounts of soluble paracetamol.

After a cold hard look at my workload, I realised I had far too many balls in the air, or irons in the fire, whichever you prefer. I had to get out the pruning shears and cut back some of the things that really weren’t getting us anywhere.

All that searching for the magic answer/angle had to stop too. My life had to be simplified if I wanted to come out of this mess in one happy piece!

A further post about how I chopped and pruned may well follow, once I get past the pain of deleting and unsubscribing all the dead or dying wood in my forest!

Fast forward 18 months and this all happened again this week.

I have often thought I was going around in circles, now I know I do…

Don’t Hurry…

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Cold nights, lonely hearts

Lay on pavements forgotten

Walked by, busy minds too hurried to see

Young and old, they sleep alone

Under paper, cardboard, barely visible

To those who pass by

A warm cup of tea, coffee

Would take a moment to buy

A sandwich to fill an empty space

See the look of sorrow

Change to one of gratitude

To know that someone noticed

Is more than thankyou can say

Please don’t hurry by, as if blinded by the light

Underneath those rags, a brother,

A son, a father, a daughter lies…

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Stormy Weather…

 

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According to our weather people yesterday morning, the UK will be experiencing a taste of what the Americans have to put up with. We tend to take these alarmist weather reports with a pinch of salt, but seeing as how the wind had already knocked my neighbour’s bin over, there might be something to it this time.

Just before lunch, the wind increased. The trees at the back of the house complained as the gusts became more violent.

I watched, mesmerised, as the huge branches bent almost double, completely at the mercy of the elements.

I expected at least one of them to break, but somehow they didn’t. I was reminded of that old maxim about the necessity of learning how to bend in order to stop from breaking.

That was when the rain joined in, adding a torrential downpour to the churning scene outside my window.

It was a scene from a horror movie, all that was missing were the ominous rumbles of thunder and theatrical flashes of lightning.

I stood and watched it all from the safety of my office. Work was abandoned as I watched Nature at her best. (Or worst) I almost wanted to run outside and be a part of it all, but common sense prevailed.

I must be getting old.

The rain lashed at the glass, just inches from my face. The sudden force of it taking me by surprise. The millions of water droplets magnified and distorted my vision and for a moment, I was transported to the middle of a waterfall, or a storm tossed boat on a stormy night. In my imagination I seemed to be soaking wet and cold, my teeth wanted to rattle as the shivers began. I could smell the water on my skin and clothes. I knew I should step away from the window and come back to my world, but my feet would not obey me. They too were transfixed by the weather and felt cold and wet.

I tried to see through the rain spattered window, hoping to see the reality of my back garden, but it wasn’t there. I was somewhere else.

Nothing looked familiar.

I saw a ship, struggling to stay afloat in the turbulent water. Huge foam tipped waves slowly lifted above the ship, threatening to crush it. Then, with a roar, the water fell and I lost sight of the ship. Had it been lost, sacrificed to the God of the sea?

Sorrow gripped my heart and my eyes desperately sought to find the craft, but all I could see were the waves, incredibly beautiful waves, soaring, then crashing down, roaring with the power of it all…

Then the phone rang and I was back in my office. Was it my imagination, but was the rain easing off? Had the wind run out of steam?

Or had I simply stopped seeing the destructive force right outside my window?

A quick check revealed that the rain had stopped. The trees had quieted down too, meaning the wind had blown away to pastures new.

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As I watched, the sky began to clear. The dark clouds slunk away like a bad dream, revealing the fading tail end of a rainbow. I was disappointed to have missed it and turned away from the window.

But something made me take another look.

High above me was another rainbow. This one stronger and brighter than the one I missed just minutes before.

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They say the rainbow is God’s promise to never to send us the biblical floods that Noah had to cope with.

I smiled at that thought, for it would seem in certain areas of the world, He comes perilously close to breaking this promise…

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#Jaye’s Journal: November

 

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So many empty promises!

I have posted about e-mails before. About how rewarding, interesting and useful they are. However, just lately, something has been happening to them.

Something bad.

Something that is ruining not only my enjoyment but also possibly the future of communication, as we know it too. Most days I find informative articles and valuable information, all shared by fellow bloggers. Sometimes we meet new people who have just begun to blog, wanting to join our list of subscribers. Then there are all the people we discover who we want to follow. It is a huge worldwide social club, one that has taught me almost everything I know about blogging and social networking. Some of the best hours in my day are spent reading e-mails.

That is until this new menace started appearing. Every single one of them promising a gift, a prize or some other amazing offer. All the ones from the companies you don’t have dealings with are bad enough, but at least you know for sure you haven’t qualified for any of their offers. But what about the ones from the companies you do use?

It can be quite disconcerting to read that your favourite store has singled you out (as a valued customer) for a huge discount or some other prize. Hard not to click on that one!

They are all bogus claims, trying to get you to click to register your claim, and once you do, you open the door for any malware they have at their disposal. I can no longer tell the real from the bogus, so I ignore them all. And every day there seems to be more and more.

I often wonder how many people are fooled and taken in by these claims, only to have their systems corrupted or worse.

Hopefully, this menace will die a natural death, but I know what will happen. These people will come up with yet more ways to wreak havoc, as it’s what they do. I just wish they would leave my e-mails alone!

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Why does history repeat itself?

(Reblogged from 2014)

 

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It was November, several years ago and the weather was pleasantly warm. We were walking around Southampton enjoying the late sunshine.

Our mood was reasonably high, having just had a ‘meet and greet’ with a publisher who was interested in Anita’s books. We had lunch in the open air and were trying to remember which car park we had used, several hours before.

My feet were killing me, wearing new shoes on such a day was a crazy idea, but I was grinning and bearing the pain like a trooper. We walked past an ancient looking wall that was faced with what looked like slices of flint, and I was rooting around in my bag for my camera.

I don’t really know what happened next, whether my foot slipped or I stumbled, but before I knew what was happening, I was flying through the air and landed on the ground. The pain hit me like a sledgehammer, as my hands, face, and knee took the full force of my considerable weight, grinding them into the rough surface of the walkway.

For several minutes I couldn’t move. The pain was excruciating and there was a distinct possibility that I might faint, as my head was swimming as Anita and her son rushed to help me. As I lay there in an inelegant heap, trying to pull myself together, I noticed my hands. There was some blood, but no apparent reason for it, (I found out later that it came from my face) my hands were studded with gravel and were screaming with the pain. As I stared at them, I was transported back to a time when this had happened before, sixty years ago.

I was nine or ten, and it was winter. The school playground was icy, with piles of dirty snow shovelled here and there. It was playtime and I was under the shelter that ran along the side wall, swinging on the iron bars. It was a game we played, linking our arms around the bars and lifting our feet off the ground. Like today, what happened next was fast and I hit the icy ground with my face and hands.

The school nurse took one look at my face, bloody and pitted with gravel and promptly sent me home to my mother. I remember the look on her face as she studied mine, the way she cried as she tried to remove the gravel as gently as she could. It wasn’t easy and it hurt a lot, but she kept at it until it was done.

I had looked at my hands that day, as I did now, wondering why fate had decided to repeat itself, today of all days.

Trust me to spoil what was a momentous occasion, a day that promised to be the start of something great…

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Mermaids Tears

 

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I think the greatest magic on this earth is to be found in water. Any kind of water, whether it is the powerful oceans or the peacefully slow moving rivers.

I have found magic in mighty waterfalls and simple rock pools, and love nothing better than being close to it. I have spent many happy hours beachcombing, looking for shells and driftwood, and the occasional piece of sea glass.

Sea glass, or mermaids tears, as it is sometimes called, is just ordinary pieces of glass, chemically weathered and tumbled beneath the waves to produce beautifully smooth frosted pebbles.

This process takes a long time, and each piece contains its own mystery of where it came from and how it ended up in the sea. It could be from a shipwreck or a message in a bottle, the possibilities are endless. It can be almost any colour, but black is supposed to be the rarest, although it must be hard to spot among the pebbles on a beach.

Sea glass has been called a reverse gem, for most of the gem stones that we recognise have been made by nature and refined by man. Sea glass is the opposite, but I suspect it is a lot more complicated than that.

One thing has always puzzled me. Why isn’t there more to be found? I have searched for most of my life and only found a few pieces, probably because I am looking in all the wrong places.

Whatever the truth of it all, I think it is magical and I treasure my collection.

Maybe it is because I too am flotsam, thrown up on life’s beach. Waiting to be found and treasured by a fool like me…

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November 2018 #Blog Battle: Educate

 

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School

I was born in 1946 and school was not the best place for me.

All those teachers filling my head with a bunch of stuff I didn’t really need to know about.

Most of the time my mind wandered. I knew they were there to help me learn but they had no time for slow learners. Me being one of them.

It was my own fault, I stopped listening.

I stopped respecting my elders when they made me feel so small after getting something wrong.

There was no political correctness in my day. Messing around in class got me sent outside, where I would make faces at them through the window.

This would get me sent to the Heads office and Sister Joseph and her cohort, Sister Agatha.  I would be expected to hold out my hand so this six-foot sister of God could give me six of the best. How could they call it that?

I let it happen once and swore never to let these creatures use the cane on my hands again. Especially after teaching us religious education, that God loves us, forgives out sins and shows mercy to everyone. How could those black clad beasts teach without an example?

I refused to hold out my hand. The shorter one, Sister Agatha held me by my elbow, trying to stretch out my arm, where afterward I could go home with red welts on my hand.

Remembering the pain from last time, I wouldn’t let her budge me. I didn’t think my crime deserved this kind of punishment. I pushed Sister Agatha aside and ended up biting her hand so she would let go of me. Not good I know, but I wanted her to feel the pain.

Most of the teachers liked to whip out the cane in class too, embarrassing you by making you stand in front of your friends when they did it. I never learned not to question the lessons of the day, but they did get things wrong. After pointing this out, I was expected to stand in front of the class and let her whack my hand with the cane.

Not on your nelly. I walked out and then ran home. My mother wasn’t helpful. She said I must do as I was told.

I couldn’t answer her back for she was never wrong. I couldn’t expect sympathy about the cane either, for mother liked to use the belt when I became too much to handle. I spent a lot of my time between a rock and a hard place.

Don’t feel sorry for me, I didn’t turn out so bad. I found a way to educate myself thanks to the one good thing Sister Agatha did. She called on one of the old retired teachers to help me and others to read. So once I had it in my head that words are not always spelled as they sound, I read my way through the school library. Spelling, however, slipped past my brain. I still don’t get it right. Jaye helps me with the stuff I write, so all’s right with my world.

School education, you can stick it, but I made sure my kids did their homework.

My one big thing was about hitting my kids and this was not going to happen, nor would I let anyone else do it. I managed to get into more trouble over this and ended up in the Heads office again. He had the cheek to ask why I told my kids never to let the teachers use the cane on them. “You walk out,” I told them. “Come straight home. I will take care of it.”

My answer was that I was their mother. That they had no real feeling for my kids and wouldn’t pull back when lashing out with the cane.

I remember the bruising on my brother’s hands. I couldn’t let someone who was meant to teach lay their hands on my kids this way. I remembered my mother going mad at my brother’s teacher when he did it. I was there, loving every moment. She made him feel so bad in front of his class.

She did no more, she pulled out the cane from the desk and broke it in half. The next day, I did the same. While the rest of the class were out playing, I went into each class and broke the canes, leaving them on top of their desks. No mean feat at eleven years old. The look on my teacher’s face was a picture I still treasure to this day. I know things are better now. They cannot lash out and smack your children. What I do know, is that not all teachers are saints.

Some of them know how to make a child feel small, using words in ways that hurt while trying to teach young minds not to fight, not to call each other names or make fun because someone wears glasses.

In my opinion, kids are much the same as they were years ago. Some good and some not so good. I see them outside my window on their way to school, pushing and pulling each other about, shoving each other into the bushes outside my house. Good fun for some, maybe not for the one trying to extricate himself from the bush.

At least the cane has been abolished. I think people of a similar age will know how I felt back then. At least I hope so…

I do have some sweet memories that often filter through my mind, of the spoonful of malt every morning before class and being milk monitor, handing out the small bottles of milk. I think they were trying to take care of our health more than our minds…