Hello again.

I thought I should just pop by in case you thought I’d vanished.  I have not.  I am here.  I did do Miniatura which was fantastic, more of this and what I took later.

I just needed a rest.

It’s been four years since my father died.  I’ve been surrounded by things and people which had become my responsibility with never a day off ever since.  Every day has had some sort of crisis, official situation, difficult person, sudden illness or practical situation needing input, approval, or sorting out.  When Miniatura loomed I knew I either had time to do everything I had to do and get ready for the show, or I had time to blog and do everything I had to do.  I chose the former.  I was quite sure my mother was going to be suddenly ill and require attention because she has done so every show for the past four years, and I warned the care home this might be the case.  They coped well and I didn’t even ring her during the show because conversations with the insane are for days when your patience and compassion are both in working order, not for days when you are likely to fall asleep the minute you sit down.  I did the show with no helper, I fitted in nearly three months of dolls on odd moments before the show and was as ready as I ever get and it was so great to have time doing the things I enjoy I decided to take time off afterwards.

I still rang my mother every day as I do.  I still dealt with all the official stuff, as one has to.  This week it was a lot of bits of paper about the meeting that the county council had concerning the Deprivation of Liberty order against my mother.  I got it on Thursday and finally managed to sit down and read it all on Sunday morning.

It was upsetting.  It is one thing to have your mother tell you she’s on a cruise ship in the war, it’s another to see it written down by an official.  It wasn’t that I disagreed with anything they were saying.  There were ten pages painting a very lifelike picture of my mother exactly as she is.  I knew that she had called the fire brigade to the building by smashing the glass on the fire alarm with her stick when she got annoyed, I just didn’t like seeing that fact printed.  No detail was spared.  Her aggression, her preferences, the progress of the disease, the care in the care home, my care and input.  Every word of it accurate, true and desperately upsetting.

For the next couple of days I have been depressed, so I’ve done the things that mend me.  I’ve gardened, I’ve worked out, I’ve got the table covered in paper crafting stuff and bought a die cutting machine.

It’s hard, this end of a demented life. It’s so sad.  Most of the things my father lived for and valued have sold for tenths of the value he put on them.  I just got advice that the huge tapestry my mother worked which the care home said was too heavy to hang, sold for under two pounds.  Today my mother sounded so tired.  She sounds as if the fight has gone out of her.

The OH has been unwell and not admitting it.  He is either irascible or complaining.  He hobbles when he walks which he is ascribing to the skin on his feet being thin.  I am ascribing this to gout, though, of course, I know nothing.

The S&H says he’s coming to take his cats.  I am devastated.  I didn’t want them when they arrived but five years later they think I’m their mother and I love them.

It feels as if everything is at a sad end, petering out and trailing off……………

On the other hand some dies have just arrived in the post that will make a cut out owl with spectacles and a moustache, so I shall finish my work out and do that.

Sometimes in life the only person you can look after is yourself, so I am and I am grateful that the circumstances are such that I can do so.  I am grateful for Miniatura and my hobbies and the fact that I can work out, get fresh air and sleep soundly each night.  I’m glad that the house has sold and generated enough money to look after my mother.  By the end of the month the care home will have activated the bank order so that payment for my mother’s care will be automated and continue until the money runs out.  This is a huge responsibility off my shoulders, now, even if something should happen to me, my mother will be cared for for the rest of her life, because once the money is used up she will qualify for free care as the home is a charitable trust.

So I did all the work early on as it arose or before, if I could foresee it, which now has bought me some time off, which is why you haven’t seen me for a while.

I’m back now, how have you been?


Yes doctor, I’m tired all the time.

So you said, I’ve got a rubber stamp saying that just here.

Unusual is it?

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Midweek Miniatura!

What would I do without the Min?  How could I be?  What would I have to look forward to?

Nothing is the answer.  I love this show so much I couldn’t do without it.  I love everything about it.  I love getting ready for it (had the kiln on three times already), I love hearing about and meeting the new artists (lots of new ones this time) and all the exhibitors (over 150 this time), and the terrific quality and the venue (the NEC with everything you need for a great day out that the weather can’t spoil) and the free parking and Andy that arranges it and setting up to see what everyone has been up to and being there and doing it and everything.  Just everything.

Did I mention that I love Miniatura?

I do – it is so positive and cheerful and artistic that it is all I’m going to write about for a month.  No doubt the madness will descend once more, I’ve had some very serious papers to sign and there is gloom on the horizon BUT for the next month it is Miniatura season as the world’s favourite miniature art show gets into gear, once more to lift the spirits, inspire the collector and delight all comers to a wonderful weekend out.

The show is on the 1st and 2nd of October 2016 details as always at www.Miniatura.co.uk   opening with a page of work from some of the new exhibitors.

Great stuff, stay tuned!


Tiny joys to soothe the soul.

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This too shall pass.

Someone at my Al-Anon family groups reminded me of this saying when I was so upset and worried about the Ruby wedding.  Our neighbour came out with us and the family for a meal and we got two cards.  In the middle of the afternoon my mother rang to say she is packing her college course in because she doesn’t think she wants to be a teachers’ assistant or even run the canteen.  I reminded her that at 91 it probably isn’t necessary to do either, but she said she was waiting for my father to come back and had rung and asked my cousin what she thought as she had been a teacher too.  The S&H talked to her on the phone and the baby listened and squealed a bit.

The DIL had made a cake with red writing on the icing and I thought that was wonderful.  They left the restaurant before pudding because they had a long journey and we and the neighbour got back just too late for the OH to go to the pub, which was a blessing as that would have finished me off.  There was a barbeque at the pub yesterday starting at 7 in the rain to which the OH rushed with enthusiasm and no umbrella.

I rang the cousin who had been rung by my mother to explain.  I would not describe excusing your mother’s insanity to your other relatives as easy but we did have a little bit of reference to the problem that runs through the family.  Because of the genetic component the disease of alcoholism can emerge in different way and endless combinations throughout many generations.  Often the control that other family members exhibit in the face of the disease is as damaging as the disease itself. In the past, due to relative poverty, many families may have escaped the disease.  Today it is a health epidemic affecting the baby boomers as no generation before.  It isn’t just rock stars doing drugs, downing bottles and causing sickness to themselves and collateral damage to their families – as the world gets richer, it’s everywhere.

If you have problem drinkers in your family there is help and support for you around the world.  www.al-anon.org/international-meetings  and in the UK www.al-anonuk.org.uk

The other thing that helps me to stay alive is porcelain.  For four days last week I poured and today I am beginning what will probably be a week of rubbing down my little porcelain people, before they get forged in the fire, much the same as real people.  A miniaturist once remarked at a fair how wonderful it would be if the dolls could talk.  No it would not, just as long as they cannot talk or drink we’re all safe.

When Ancient Egyptian priests did the ritual over newly made mummies prior to entombing them, part of the ceremony was The Opening Of The Mouth, so the mummy could account for themselves in the afterlife.  I hope if I open my mouth it is helpful to you, ignore it if not, safe in the knowledge that this too shall pass.

You shouldn’t have to say: this too shall pass, about a celebration, you shouldn’t have to apologise for a demented mother,  there are lots of things that happen outside a dolls’ house that make you gasp and roll your eyes a bit before you get on with it.  All you can ever do, when life makes you sad is try your best to make something beautiful out of it.  This is art and that too shall pass unless, and here we say the magic word, it is cer –am-ic!

I’m off to rub down some permanently smiling people.



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Deprivation of liberty.

I should be happy, tomorrow is our ruby wedding anniversary.  The OH wants to go to a destination which is three hour’s drive away and I won’t because he isn’t well enough and I don’t want to spend four hours every evening sitting alone in a hotel bedroom while he fills up at the bar.  Normally you would have a good party but he won’t have my Al-Anon friends and I won’t entertain the pub again.  I did this five years ago, I made the garden fabulous, put on a great spread and provided flowing wine and they all turned up grim faced with cans under their arms and sat on the lawn in garden chairs drinking to oblivion.

Meanwhile my mother is on track for a Deprivation of Liberty order.  Yes, they wish to lock her up and throw away the key.  You might think after all that she did to me and the number of times I wished as a child that someone would do this, that I’d be delighted but of course I’m not.  The thought that your mother is not safe to be allowed out is not just distressing, it’s the knowledge that it’s another step towards the little quilted room, that’s really upsetting.

I do wish, with all my wishing, that young people carelessly ingesting substances and the denizens of pubs and bars who have to be peeled off the door handles at closing time could just see where it ends up.  Locked up and missing the great events of your own life and dragging your relatives down with you is where it ends up.  I am taking the fall-out for people who have carelessly damaged their brains with self indulgence and I am heartily tired of it.

My mother was assessed last week and the lady who did the assessment rang me before and after she had interviewed my mother and we had a full, frank and very helpful interchange of views and information.  I then had a talk to the care home manager after my visit to my mother this week.

I have previously written about the Mental Health Act 1983.  When the Police and Hospitals in the UK talk of ‘sectioning’ a patient, they are referring to the section of this Act of Parliament which enables  a body of several professional people concerned with the care of a person with mental health issues to detain them for their own safety or for the safety of that of the public.  It was rehearsing this Act in my head that caused me to run into a parked car last summer instead of paying attention to my turning circle as I edged out of a tight space last summer, well if I hadn’t been saying the Act over and over out loud I wouldn’t have gone into the tight space in the first place.

The Deprivation of Liberty order is, if you like, one down from sectioning.  It gives the right to permit the care home manager to keep my mother in the home.  At present when my mother is sitting beside the front door repeatedly hitting it with her walking stick because she has decided she’s going shopping; if she did manage to escape and passers-by saw the care home manager trying to womanhandle my mother back inside (good luck to her, my mother is built like a brick out house, I reckon it would take three carers at least) the passers-by could call the police and be on the side of my mother.  (It takes all sorts).  Once the order has been passed by a board of the county council the care home manager will be within her legally expressed rights.

The fact that my mother can go out shopping if accompanied, the fact that this has been arranged several times and then not happened because my mother has been throwing a dicky-fit.  The fact that my mother couldn’t manage to go down the five steps into the building without help.  The fact that my mother couldn’t actually walk as far as the shops a whole two streets away without needing oxygen.  The fact that she mainly only wants to go shopping because they don’t want her to.  All these things are facts but they have no bearing on the central requirement, which is that the care home manager should not be prosecuted by passers-by just because she’s doing her job.

Then there’s the OH.  He has had a suggestive blood test result which will be repeated in a couple of months to see if it’s gone away or not.  He might have cancer, he might not.  The fact that he has poured pints of beer and wine through his waterworks every day for for fifty years has nothing to do with anything, he shouts.  When I said it might, he called me delusional, twice, which, considering my mother actually is, cruising as she currently is outside of Rio and Newcastle simultaneously, was very rude and nasty.

I am so upset at what these people have done to me and are doing every day.  Their abusive behaviour and language is tiring me out.  I am sick of listening to the diatribes of damaged brains, about how I am crazy or carers are bitches, or other drivers are ****s or ****s.  None of these people hear it, and neither should they.  Carers are angels without wings and other drivers are considerably better than the person with the road rage.  The only person into whose ears the vitriol is poured is just me standing in the torrent of  abuse from people who have damaged their brains with alcohol and self indulgence.

The two people I see most of in my life are in a race to the death.  I no longer care who wins.


40 years.  I either need a medal or my head read, I’m not sure which.

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10 year tidy.

You know how it is.  I know you know how it is.  Life gets crapola on a stick so you buy yourself a little treat of something a bit crafty that you’ll do to cheer yourself up when you have five minutes away from wading through what you’re wading through.  You know.  Then you get an upsetting phone call from your mother, currently on a cruise ship but planning to disembark at Rio, so you watch a crafting channel because you can’t think and you buy a paper crafting kit that will be lovely to do one day.

And you go to a shop and you visit a show and you come back with the nice paper bags…..

Worse, you clear a house and rescue boxes full of stuff.  Then you get out your own stuff to decide which stuff to stuff and which stuff to keep……….

There are TV programmes where kindly neighbours rescue people who have to climb a mountain of junk to swim through the tiny hole up near the doorframe to get to the kitchen where the cooker was buried in camping equipment and plastic bags full of wedding dresses long ago.

So you wake up screaming and begin the ten year tidy up.

Ideally you should not begin by buying a load of boxes to put stuff in to get you started or  three special offers while you’re getting up the courage to do it, but you know, (and I know you do know)…….. whatever really gets you started.

So I have.  As I’ve been in clearing rubbish mode since May 3rd, I’ve just carried on.

So far I have found the carpet.

Boy do we need a new carpet.

Paper crafting is quite a good hobby, because you don’t even have to throw stuff away, all you have to be able to do is recycle paper.  Even I can do that.

The OH and I are having great……..let’s call them discussions. The Ruby wedding looms.  I am not catering for the freeloaders at the pub.  He will not entertain my Al-Anon friends.  I do not want to go on holiday with him and sit in a hotel room while he drinks for 4 hours every night.

Impasse.  But instead of filling the dead space between the morsels of communication with shopping I’m filling them with clearing right out.

Any day now I may find the walls.

The cats are just going to have to get used to sleeping on empty chairs or the floor like cats in tidy houses.  (No, who am I kidding?  They’ll be on the beds first opportunity, as always.)

It’s one of them there metaphors for life and if you do it enough you can even get used to it.  Oh I say, hang on, I’ve just spotted what may be a surface.  My goodness if I had a surface I could do one of those lovely new….

Back later.


The things I would do if I didn’t have things to do.

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I find as I get older and wider that much of life seems to be arranged around points of view.  The corollary of this is that, if you cannot change the problem, perhaps you can change your perspective of it to make it acceptable, or in some cases, barely bearable, if it was unsupportable when it first presented itself.

Oh there’s been a lot of opportunities for learning this week!

First the OH.  I believe he resents my car.  I love my car.  I saved up for it for years and bought the demonstration model from a proper car showroom and I love it.  It is  VW UP and it is just a little car, perfect for little me.  The old car, which the OH bought privately with the last of his retirement handshake has now been scrapped.  It didn’t owe us anything and had driven many more thousands of miles to and from my mother than we ever intended when it was bought five years ago to be a driving to the golf range and round town retired folks car.  For that it would have lasted forever, for commuting one or two hundred miles a week it definitely didn’t.

No one could accuse the OH of being a saver.  He is too fond of investing in liquid assets and too used to being overdrawn to have any truck with cash in hand or savings anywhere.  When I turned up at the car showroom with a handful of money he was as nonplussed as the car dealers who had to go and find out what you did with people who just walked in with money and out with a car.  They kept going into the back room and having a quick meeting and coming out going: are you sure you don’t want finance?  What not any finance?  At all?

I needed my little car that fits me so well.  The OH had systematically destroyed my driving skills so that he would have a permanent lift to the pub.  Buying my little car myself, all by myself was part of my rebuilding of my confidence.

The car is little.  When I wanted a new washing pole I measured from the dashboard to the back window and got six feet.  The new washing pole just fitted, carefully inserted and I drove home with extreme caution and about one spare inch for emergency stops.

When the OH announced he was going to buy the wood for the grand daughter’s swing I was sitting in my shed and I was still there when he came home with the results of throwing eight eight foot long wood beams into my car and slamming the tailgate.

I finished my cup of tea and sat for another half hour doing breathing before I went to look.  The windscreen replacing people are coming on Tuesday morning.  I am grateful for the chance to exercise and improve my patience and the wonderful opportunity to practice lowering my blood pressure by breathing techniques.

I wish I could say the same about current contacts with my mother.  When we went on Wednesday she had been with other residents from her dining table to get her hair done, completely forgetting that her hairdresser and friend of many years was going to come the following day to do her hair.  The hairdressing friend was very philosophical on the phone, I think she would be heartily glad if she never had to go to the home again.  So we all agreed, especially my mother, that it would be better if my mother went with her friends each week to get her hair done at the on-site salon.  Fortunately I have already had a go at washing and setting my mother’s hair in her ensuite, so if it all goes bird’s nest I can rearrange her twigs to suit.

Whether I can stop her setting off the fire alarm in the hot weather is another matter.  Yesterday she was being kept prisoner in the heat by wicked forces.  She sounded like an extra from Tenko, kept on a jungle cage for days, instead of the old lady sitting surrounded by antiques in front of a slightly open real Georgian window, with a cooling breeze, which she actually was.  The litany of suffering was interrupted by someone bringing her tea and she had to hang up in order to choose which cake she would have.  Oh the humanity!

People inflicting little annoyances on you is life, suffering from them is a choice, assisted by the long view that it’ll all be the same in a hundred years anyway.


The view from the tower is always worth the climb.

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None of them good.

There is no getting past it.  The later stages of dementia are distressing for onlookers and very distressing for family members. There have been some upsetting incidents with the phone.  I was so happy that my mother could have her own phone and her own phone number.  In her life she has spent hours of every day on the phone chatting to friends; she loves to talk and is one of nature’s natural filibusters.  Since the death of my father I have either been with her each day or talked to her on the phone every day at least once.  Sometimes if she is agitated I have been able to soothe her and because I know her life, able to remind her of happier times, where she lives more readily than the present.

However on many occasions recently I have not been able to ring her because the home have had to unplug her phone.  I did say at the start of her living there that it might be a good idea to unplug her phone in the evening because she was prone to making very odd calls late at night.  At home she had a phone by her bed which enabled her to get me out of bed on several occasions to be sworn at or shouted at or whatever and I was always worried that if she did that to her sister-in-law or her sister, both of advanced age, that the shock might kill them.  When she used her phone in the home to call the police late at night, three nights in one week, they finally believed me and started disconnecting the phone.  This was fine but they often were too busy to remember to plug it back in in the morning, so I had to make three calls, one unsuccessful call to her, one to the office to ask if she were plugged in and one back to her when she was plugged in.

The call to the office today produced sad news.  She is sitting by the front door, having struck it and several passers-by with her stick, though at the time I actually called, she has fallen asleep on the chair by the door.  The care team asked me if they can notify the council, by filling in  a form, that she may no longer be allowed out because they think she represents a danger to people outside.

Of course I agreed, I lived with her for a year and have been struck by her stick, it jolly well hurts and could break bones in a child or someone old.

When she first had the diagnosis, I printed a lot of explanatory pictures about stroke and the brain and we discussed the disease and the possible progression of it.  She got me to promise that I wouldn’t let her hurt anyone.

So that’s what I’m doing.

In my mother’s case anticipated worse-case scenarios have happened all along the line, from the thousand times she told me to kill the cat till the day I had to do that, to now when I feared for four years she would be locked up and they have had to do that.

There are no locked doors in the home she is in.  There are four homes in the group.  Some of them have locked doors.  Residents can be moved if it becomes impossible to care for them in an open home with people who are not demented.

Although my father was happy to stand behind her for the last three years of his life making whirly signs beside his head, he would not really get to grips with her disease and probably never realised he was enabling it.  Nevertheless I am heartily glad he is not here now.

Giving permission for your relative to be kept indoors, albeit in a suite of rooms filled with antique furniture and all their own things, is very sad.

I am.  Very sad.


Hoping for happier times.

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Tidying up.

Well I’m amazed if you’re still reading, thank you and well done.  This last bit of clearing my mother’s house has been so work heavy, I’ve just done that and nothing else.  Some things have turned out well, some less so, but over all has been the problem of dealing with piles of junk.  I am writing now surrounded by boxes of books.

Not knowing how much of the stuff we wanted from my parents’ house, I erred on the side of caution, especially in consideration of how spectacularly badly the goods and chattels did in the sale room.  All of my life I have been fed the extreme cleverness of my father in shopping, how brilliant he was to buy eighteenth century this and nineteenth century that and how many millions it was going to be worth.  What a crock of crocky things that turned out to be!  The first sale of all the household stuff and all the silver plated cutlery and so on made a thousand pounds the lot.  The gigantic dining table failed to sell and the eight chairs that we spent so much time re-gluing and looking after, sold to the trade for £20 the set.

Fortunately the care home manager was happy to accept the table (which separates into three parts and stores in not much more room than two wheelchairs) as a gift and also the coffee table set and had a van to fetch them.

Having seen how wonderfully awfully things failed to make money I rescued some other stuff and on Monday we loaded a van full at that end and unloaded it at this end, promptly filling the house here with junk.  I have incorporated our own junk and am currently sifting into ‘dump’ ‘charity shop’ ‘keep’ ‘loft’ ‘cupboard’.  To do which I’ve had to clear the cupboards out first.


Not writing, not making dolls, not gardening not doing any of the things that constitute what you might call my life, such as it is.

The one bright spot was when the crane lorry driver, who was a gent, a hunk and incredibly skilful, pulled the second lion off his metal spikes with a slight plop, loaded them both carefully on to the truck and delivered then to the family members who are now enjoying them.  I think my father would have been happy and I know they are.

My mother, meanwhile, had her ninety-first birthday the day after the white-van-crammed-with-junk day.  The care home manager had cleared a huge table with plates in the dining room.  Of course it was just the three of us.  We arrived to find her covering her possessions, which she had piled in heaps on every flat surface, with towels.  She says she is sorting out.  Is she channelling me or am I channelling her?  I have no idea, but she has been doing this for  a few weeks now.  The carers pop up while she is having dinner and put it all back again.

I would love to tell you more but there are piles of junk calling to me.  So far there are five big bags of books and more to be filled for the charity shop.  I always though that I would write a book and it would be cherished posterity until yesterday when I dropped a leather-bound Dickens into a charity shop bag without so much as a second glance.  There is a possibility that making as little mark on the planet, especially the landfill of it, is the way to go after all.

If anyone would like a random bag of junk they will be available in quantity at the shop on the high street from tomorrow.


When you see a pile in the neighbourhood, who you gonna call?  Crapshifters!

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Assorted sad things.

There have been a number of sad things that have happened lately.  We have nearly emptied the house, the bits I want to take away are in the garage, the council have come expensively to remove the huge double bed, that we somehow managed to get downstairs and the sofa, both of which we left on the pavement.  The last to go will be the two single beds we are sleeping in but we’ll keep them in case we are needed for more heavy shifting for the S&H and thus avoid a two hour drive to the heavy shifting and a two hour drive away from the heavy shifting.

Talking of which, the lions.  Well there were a pair of carved stone very oriental-looking lions, that my father had bought from a very upmarket store that closed it’s not-in-London branch and sold off even the lions that flanked the entrance.  So, believing that I would be fulfilling his wishes if they went down the family to my cousin’s son, I offered the lions and they accepted.  You’d think giving things away would be easy, wouldn’t you?  Each lion is shorter than me, but not much, and wider, but not much and heavier.  Much much heavier.  Much.  I couldn’t shift either of them, even though I put my whole weight (after lunch and two chocolates) against them and shoved.  So I got a shovel and levered and shoved.  Then I used the shovel to shove the gravel that surrounded them and found…concrete. Several hot and sweaty hours in the front garden with the lions produced numerous neighbours, all with an opinion.  We learned they were loved, we learned children liked them, we were told not to leave them, we were told they were important for the area, we were told where they came from and we were told of the evening when a group of revellers had pushed one of them over.  Which explained the concrete.  Well I had a go with a chisel, the OH had a longer go with a chisel and, all the time, passers-by offered lion anecdotes.  Then we decamped and the OH borrowed a very serious hammer action electric chisel and screwdriver with more impressive bits than I’ve seen in many a long year.  The manly electric gadget freed the first lion in half an hour from the wedge of concrete in front of it, preventing it being tipped backwards, after which I could shift it.  This was good because the friend who was subcontracting the crane lorry had emphasised the necessity of freely moving lions set against the vast cost and delicate nature of a crane lorry.  Crane lorries, apparently, are second only to cheese souffles in their propensity to sink into the ground on the slightest pretext, whereupon misery and vast costs will occur and everyone will be off their oats for a fortnight.  The lions, I was told, must be freely moving, so it was with great delight that I, having waltzed around the gravel with the first lion, left the OH to tackle the second, while I went off to tackle my mother.

I returned to a couple of surprises.  One was not that the OH had spent a large proportion of the intervening two hours watching TV accompanied by a can or two.  One was the extent of the downward nature of the concrete anchor.  Prior to my departure we had pondered the ability of the generally pissed off eighty year old to dig a pit round a lion and fill it with loosely mixed ready mix.  The stuff the OH had encountered  was of the consistency of Mount Everest, with extra rocks and to the depth of……well actually, unknown, we never got to the bottom of it.  We were surprised at how very ticked off my mild mannered father had been.  The other surprise had been that the neighbour who knew had waited a couple of hours before telling the OH that she had watched as the crane and workmen my father had hired had lifted the lion and upended one of those always-mixing concrete lorries into the pit that several of them had dug.  So he was pissed off even unto money.  Amazing.  So we put back the gravel and the cousin will be getting A lion.  If the new home owner wishes to hire a wrecking ball because he doesn’t like the other lion, that’s up to him, whoever he may be.

The sadness was not the lion.  The sadness was the cat.  The problem was not that he had a huge cyst on his face, not that he was missing my mother, not that he was 21 and had bad arthritis.  The problem was that he was stone deaf and his memory had gone.  I could feed him and five minutes later find him sitting on the stairs staring at the door waiting for the neighbour to come in and feed him and then I could walk up behind him and make him jump by stroking him.  I rang the cats’ charity and they tried to find a home somewhere not on a main road for a deaf elderly cat with no traffic sense but no one could.  The real difficulty lay in penning elderly cats, they said.  So I took him to the vet and she was young, so she gave us the lecture and couldn’t find a vein and dragged it out for twenty minutes but in the end he just went to sleep in my arms while I wept buckets.  My mother told me every day for four years, which is at least a thousand times, to put the cat down and in the end I couldn’t see a way out of doing it.

On the way home the OH was tired and impatient with the driver ahead who was going slowly.  He voiced his exasperation but I had hardly said the driver ahead was going slowly in order not to hurt the rabbits playing on the grass verge, when he ran over one.  With my new car.  The following day Russell brought a bird in and tormented it and threw it around the hall before I got it off him but it was dead.

I told my mother next time I saw her.  She was totally matter-of-fact and said she wished they could do it for people and that he’d been the nicest of the cats they had owned.

I’ve spent the last couple of days clearing out the loft.  I have about three car loads to go to the dump, if the rain ever stops.

My mother, however is fine.  They are going to take away her phone at night because she has now called the police three times, I have just learned.  I think the care home is brilliant.  They dealt with this three times and only happened to mention it in connection with something else because it came up in conversation.  Why are carers paid so much less than MEPs, MPs and politicians off all persuasions?  Why are carers paid less than footballers?  Or people who can sing songs?  Hmm? 

The world has gone crazy and I feel so sad.  Not only do I seem unable to prevent death, I’m causing it.  It’s against everything I believe in but I really don’t think I had a choice.  Last time I had to do the same was for my own cat who was nineteen and a half and had a rodent ulcer.  She was going west mentally too, she used to come into a room and smile at us and I knew she didn’t have a clue who we were.

Treasure all the healthy living things.  Change is the only constant. 


Hoping for happier times.

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Settling in.

This is the second post in two days, if you haven’t tuned in lately.  Scroll down for news of junk and more junk.

In a way, having to clear my mother’s house for sale and living in it intermittently (intermittently – who I am kidding?  I’ve slept in my own bed four nights since May 3rd), has helped her because I have been on hand to assist with the transition from her own home to residential accommodation.  This transition would undoubtedly be difficult for anybody.  Would you like to leave your own home and go and live in an institution, no matter how posh it was?  Me neither.  We all have a picture of ourselves in advanced age, being in our own place, being exactly the dress size we were fifty years ago, with the boundless energy and strength of youth but just possibly, possibly on the borders of reality, enjoying slightly different television programmes and almost certainly with a slightly different hairstyle in a slightly different colour.  And wider slippers.  Maybe.

I believe that if you could harness the power of denial to a turbine we’d all have free central heating or aircon.

Let’s face it (momentarily – look away after this paragraph if you are of a nervous disposition) between 30 and 40 we are the best we’re going to get.  We have learned some stuff and not forgotten all the other stuff, we can tie up our own shoelaces without gasping and we know how to make other people do what we want sometimes.  We can even eat curry late at night.  We are at the height of our powers as humans physically and need huge shopping trolleys just to keep us going.  Like the majestic thingummyjig on the rolling veldt we stand in the supermarket car park surveying all around us, knowing that we dominate the tarmac.  We shake our luxuriant manes as we unload family frozen chips, maxi Pampers and economy chocolate blocks and we just know the planet belongs to us.

After that, dear heart, it’s down hill all the way.  It will all desert you, all the stuff you learned will unlearn itself faster than you think all the way back to the bit where you are wetting your pants, not because something was pants wettingly funny but just because your body’s forgotten how not to.

At which point you will either need help or you will wander off into the traffic and get squashed by one of the lords of creation with a mane and a boot full of Pampers and it will be a nasty end that will make the tarmac all sticky.  And if you don’t want that, help it will be.

That’s the sticking point.  Admitting helplessness.

So my poor mother has been on a cruise, in a nice hotel, at a conference, running a conference, transferring the Tax Office (of which she is head, to her great satisfaction by her own efforts, apparently) from Ireland to Glasgow, waiting for my father to come home, annoyed he was having an evening out with a client…………….anywhere but where she was.

And then on Friday when we knocked on the door and went in she had the television on for the first time since she arrived.  She said she was glad it was a nice home and she was pleased to have a suite of rooms and she liked the carers who were kind and she thought she was lucky really but she was feeling tired and had decided not to go down to the lounges and talk to people but just to spend the afternoon in her rooms watching her television.  She had finally landed in reality.

And then last night she had a mini stroke again and rang the police.

It’s a bit like the lunar module landing.  It doesn’t do it first go.  There’s a bit of bouncing before it’s flat down where it is.  Once it has stopped bouncing it stays.  Then they open the door and there they are.  In reality.

The events of the past four or five years have forced me to live in reality.  Anyone dealing with people with damaged brains has to confront and cope with what is actually there, no matter how upsetting.

Apart from two minutes on the scales each morning.  That is me time.  I do a double loop with three quarter turn, difficulty five point four and dismount, as I shake my luxurious mane, into my size zero, thin-leg diamond-encrusted jeans and go off to face the day, same as I always was, inside.


The Jean Genie lives by her wits (she has to, no one else has any)

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