Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Losing It

I go through life forgetting, misplacing, and downright losing things. It used to be handbags, as a teenager. It took a while to remember that I was carrying one at all...and more than one bank account has been frozen while I look for the bag in which the cheque book was carried. And yes, I've been known to mislay a credit card, but that was later... What else? Keys were a favourite. But for some reason, the current 'lostit' is my camera. Which is a Big Problem, as I can't take pictures for my blogs...or the book...or anything else for that matter. (This is a pic of Oxburgh, taken some time ago; blogging without pictures seems somehow unnatural.)

So, I mentioned it to Robin, who wandered around the house, muttering. How could anyone *lose* a camera, particularly a camera the size of mine, with a Big Lens. How could anyone *lose* something that had cost so much money (he's an accountant, bless him, he can't help himself). He didn't say, stupid woman, but it was all in there between the lines...

This is not the first time I've lost a camera, of course. I lost the first digital I had during the move to Norfolk. I had it in the temporary house, and then suddenly didn't have it when we moved to our permanent address. I thought I'd put it in a box, but I'd unpacked all the boxes, and it didn't turn up... Lost, right? So I bought another (the one that's currently lost). And three months after that, I opened the box with the computer stuff in it and...there was my camera, nestling securely amongst the discs, grinning smugly. There had been logic in that, of course. I'd figured that I wouldn't lose the box with the discs in it, so that made it a good place to put the camera, which does, after all, have a connection with the computer, so I'd remember, right? (Wrong, as it turns out, but it was a good thought...). So that camera went to a friend, and I kept my nice shiny new one...only to...misplace it.... sob. Anyone seen a camera???

Friday, 20 July 2007


Very. I'm grateful that I didn't have to go out today, as after a grey start to the day, it started to rain around 2pm and has only just stopped. We have a puddle the size of a paddling pool outside the front door, but, fortunately, nothing worse. Sally was on the phone this morning prior to moving all sorts of things from the ground floor to the upper parts of the house, but fortunately, despite her worries, the stream in her garden stayed where it was supposed to...though some neighbours have flooded houses to contend with.

I suspect the only creatures happy about the rain in our garden are the newts and frogs. We've been watching the frogs metamorphose from wiggly, squiggly tadpoles to miniscule frogs that can leap far higher than their own height. I do wonder about their sense of direction, or just their sense, perhaps, as they spend ages scrambling out of the pond only to take a leap one way, then leap straight back in again, and begin the process All Over Again.

I, on the other hand, having intended to go out and start Cutting Things Down to allow the erection of a large shed, or should that be shudio, decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and remained undrookit. Works for me.

ps drookit in Scots means soaked or drenched. As in the expression 'ye look like a drookit rat', which I'm sure was applicable to lots of people in the UK today...

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Wipe Out...

pretty much sums up the last week. Tiredness is a theme of my blogging, and it caught up with me properly last week. You know what they said about Ginger Rogers, that she did everything that Fred Astaire did, but backwards, and in high heels... well, that was the comparison between teaching in English and teaching in French. Being my usual stubborn self, though, I refused to admit how tired I was and...cleaned house... (What? I hear you mean you got overtired over housework???). Err, yes. Silly me.

Today, though, I feel better. So I'm going to rest some more, and on Monday, go find out if I'm anaemic yet again, and discuss what to do about it... that should be entertaining for one of us, at least.

My lovely son is now recuperating from a knee operation last week, he's not known as Hopalong for nothing...get well soon, Andrew...seen here making faces at his father's 50th birthday celebration. Pretty typical, really. Sigh.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

I Read, Therefore I Am.

is the way it must seem to most people who visit us, what with books piled everywhere, and me with my nose in one whenever the opportunity presents itself. I read several at a time, usually, though not simultaneously, of course, that would be sillier than I usually allow myself... Currently, I'm reading a Christopher Brookmyre book, which is a joy. He is a Scottish satirical writer, and is one of the few people whose writing makes me laugh out loud.

Another Scottish favourite is Isla Dewar, a completely different kettle of fish, but with the same pawky humour as Brookmyre. And the rest of the Scottish population, of course! Unlike when reading Lewis Grassic Gibbon, though, or even Rabbie Burns, you don't have to take a crash course in Scots As It Is Spoke in order to enjoy these writers. They're contemporary, slick, funny and relevant to life as it is lived wherever you are. Everybody knows a Magda, the eponymous heroine of Dewar's first book. Whilst Brookmyre's politicians could be slithering around anywhere in the world, I suspect. I do read lots of other writers, from other cultures, but whenever I need cheering up, these two are always close to hand. Which is more than can be said for my reading glasses...but that's already been told on the other blog...

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

And Now...

for something completely different. Monday is washday, we all know that, right? So on Monday, I stripped the bed and washed the linens. I have to admit to detesting ironing bedcovers with a passion, so I have a tendency to hoard them. On Monday, though, in the interests of wiping the slate clean (or in this case, killing the ironing with a single stroke...or series of strokes...), I brought the ironing board downstairs, planning to watch mindless television whilst I ironed.

As you can see from the pictures, the cats had other plans. First, it was Advo, the oldest of the four, and quite a tart, as you can see from the photo. He was sound asleep, and I didn't have the heart to move him, so I went off to do something else. A bit later, I came back and found that Millie had joined the sleep in. She adores Advo with a passion which is really not returned. There she was on the floor, sound asleep, so I left them to it.

Later that afternoon, near cat dinner time, I went to see what the story was. You'll note that Millie has got herself nicely up in amidst the washing (and right on my blue silk trousers), happily esconced beside Her Hero, Advo. Both are dare you disturb us from our slumbers with that noisy camera??? I've said it before, and I'll doubtless say it again; a mother's place is in the wrong. Even if it's only the cats who think it. Or should that be, especially? Happily, the word 'dinner' makes up for a lot. With cats as with kids!
At least I no longer have kids to deal with...well, only at the end of the phone!

Monday, 2 July 2007

Down, Down, Down?

Courtesy of the new operating system, Windows Vista, I have newsfeeds on my desktop; as they are generally from US news stations, I don't tend to read them, unless something catches my eye. Today, though, there was a comment from MNSBC news, that over the last five years, there has been a 20% increase in visits to doctors and hospitals in the US, and the most commonly prescribed item is antidepressants. Apparently, in the area where I live, I have heard that this last is also true. There are a lot of us out there taking antidepressants.

Now, this isn't a rant about whether or not to take medication; I take mine religiously every day, and am profoundly grateful for the difference it makes in my life. Rather, I'd like to understand something that has puzzled me for several years now. I have two chronic illnesses, asthma and depression. My asthma is under complete control, and has been for many years, yet the surgery insists that every year, I attend a clinic, so that one of the nurses can check that that is indeed the case (as if I'd lie about it...). It takes about ten minutes maximum, usually less. My depression, though, is not under anybody's control, really, or no more than intermittently, and hasn't been for many years. Yet there is no annual clinic, no check to see that things are progressing as they should. Nobody mentions it, ever, unless I bring it up as an issue. It's as if it wasn't there.

I've been treated for depression, on and off, for most of my adult life. It seems wrong to me that the only time anyone is interested in the progression of the illness is when I'm in crisis. And as soon as the crisis is resolved, I'm deemed able to manage it on my own. Which I can, if I'm relatively well. But depression is an illness that clouds your judgement; it can be difficult for me to say if I'm ill or not. I live with a certain level of 'negative noise' in my head, for example. Most people do, I think, it's just that mine is a tad more extreme, and more persistent. I don't want to make a big deal of it, particularly, but I do find it useful when those working with me on my health actually acknowledge to me that I live with this illness, that it doesn't go away, and that it affects the whole of my life. So why isn't there an annual clinic for people like me, those whose depression is chronic, whose lives are lived around the illness, or despite it, perhaps? If it did nothing but acknowledge that the illness is there, and is real, and is nothing to be ashamed about, if it simply encouraged the person who lives with it, that it is worth persevering, then that would be a gain.

But I don't believe that that would be the only gain. Crisis management is expensive. If I have a crisis, it has the potential to involve not just my GP and the practice based local psychiatric nurse, but also a psychiatrist, plus a psychiatric consultant, plus possibly at least one member of a crisis team, usually a psychiatric nurse. That's a lot of people, and a lot of time, and a lot of cost. If a potential crisis could be recognised, and averted, by a short screening meeting, or by action taken after such a meeting, surely it would be significantly more cost-effective than waiting until the crisis breaks? Throwing money at a problem isn't usually the best way of solving it. Prevention is always better than cure, they say. I'm sure they're right. I'd just like to have the chance to prove it. Sadly, I doubt I ever will, and the illness will go on being ignored. As will I.