Sunday, 10 March 2013

Looking at the snow....

It's Sunday - Mother's day. My Mum is spending the day with my sister - I'm off the hook until next week when I've arranged a second, delayed, celebration which will involve a trip to a big garden centre and the purchase of a suitable leafy shrub followed by a cosy pub for lunch. I had planned to make the most of a Motherless Mothers Day by getting out for a long ride - instead of paying twice the price for a pub carvery I could be getting in some much needed miles.

It was a good plan - but scuppered by the return of blizzard like conditions here in the heartlands. There was a silence as I woke this morning - I thought for a second I'd woken in the middle of the night - but the light suggested I was wrong. I struggled to the window and gazed out on a white morning. A scene of wind scattered snow, of wildness and bleakness - wonderfully invigorating but hopeless for cycling.

A cup of tea whilst lying, staring at the ceiling got me thinking..... at the close of 2012 I think I switched from a process of slow but gradual improvement to one of managed decline. This new outlook I believe is one much more attuned to reality. I wasn’t, I realised, getting better everyday, in every way - in fact I was coming apart a little each day - like old coir matting.

Alongside the familiar infirmities and complaints I nursed through 2012, I aquired several new ones, so little understood by modern medicine that I felt obliged to name them myself. I list them here in the hope that once you read them you will acknowledge them too - in 2013 we’re all going down together.

Phantom phone: I have a creaking tendon in my upper thigh activated when i shift weight from one foot to the other -it leads me to believe my phone is vibrating in my pocket - "Sorry" I say to whomever I’m with - "this might be important". Only to find that the phone isn’t even switched on. It’s a malady of the 21st century - the advent of the silent-ring mobile has transformed what once would have been a harmless symptom of age into a psychosis characterised by the belief that people are trying to contact me. I imagine that a lot of sufferers are reticent in coming forward because they are reluctant to tell a doctor they hear voices in their leg.

Lightbulb neck: A painful and debilitating seizure of the muscles running from the left ear to the shoulder blade, which strikes without warning whenever I am handed a step ladder and it is suggested that I might like to change the broken light bulb in the dining room. The only thing that seems to relieve the agony is a quiet sit down in a darkened dining room - which is lucky.

Gunshot alarm disorder: Several times a month I am awoken from deep sleep by a noise that sounds like someone blasting a hole through the door with a shotgun. I sit bolt upright in bed, breathing hard and listening for the follow-up shots. Hearing nothing but the rapid thudding of my heart. It seems logical to assume that the sound occurred in a dream but it always seems too loud to be a product of my unconcious mind. It’s either a manifestation of some, so far, unaddressed anxiety or it’s the small picture, that is held to the wall in the kitchen below by blue-tack, dropping off again.

Acute back end data loss - I first noticed this when I came across my youngest daughters math’s workings out on a scrap of paper. They looked like something mysterious you might find carved on a stone tablet in a Lord of the Rings movie. At that moment I felt the remnants of an entire branch of knowledge - lets call it algebra - leave my brain forever. It’s as if my mind has decided to rid itself of anything hazy and incomplete - in order to concentrate on two pin numbers and three internet passwords. I’m shedding information in the way a glacier calves icebergs on a hot july afternoon. It’s not painful though.

Cameron Syndrome: For reasons that are unclear whenever I find myself faced with intractable difficulties I think: "what would David Cameron do?" - I realise it’s neither advisable nor wholly sane to adopt the moral compass of a man who changes his mind like the wind changes direction - but you’d be surprised at how many of life’s problems can be resolved with the knowledge that a U-turn is just round the corner.

That’s enough for now ..... sorry, there goes my leg - I should probably take this.

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