Sunday, 30 July 2006

Welcome to Mumpy's new puppy 'Maya'

Gimpy Mumpy has a lovely new companion puppy 'Maya' and to welcome Maya to our world, I have found some pictures of her Royal Cousins.

Mumpy - here is a picture of another Mum with one of her Pembrokeshire Corgis

Courtesy of this bbc website I discovered that from fighting alongside fairies to following Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Pembrokeshire corgis have come along way since their Viking days. Despite their size these tough little dogs were developed to handle cattle. (I believe they are quite happy to play with balls these days.) More lyrical tales suggest that they were used to pull fairy carriages and that they were used as war horses ridden on by fairy warriors and that the marks of those mythical saddles are still on their shoulders

In their retirement from fighting with the fairies, they are sometimes taken up to London by their companions to visit the Queen.

Sometimes bouquets of flowers are given to the Queen by her Subjects, and she always arranges for them to be taken home to Buck House to decorate the Royal Corgi's apartments.

Often the Royal Corgis accompany Her Majesty as she travels about Her Kingdom. Royal Airplanes are a little more challenging than Royal Carriages but the doughty little corgis show their bravery descending the precipitous step ladder.

My best wishes to Maya and Mumpy for a long and joyful companionship.

Friday, 28 July 2006

Hoovering the Flow'ry Mead and other narrow escapes.

In the last two days I have changed my mind and my plans three times and thereby avoided three local news-worthy accidents.

Yesterday to the county town, the fair Dorchester. With a friend's help we did the weekly supermarket food shop first, rather than going to M&S and the chemist, before the supermarket shop, before my appointment with the wise Doctor of Osteopathy. Half way round the supermarket it suddenly got very weird; the noise level shot up, the aisles quickly became crowded and by the time we got to the check-out it was the equivalent of four market days shoved into one. Looking over my shoulder there was a sea of people stacked up behind me. Outside the front window a policeman was herding people backwards, then the tannoy requested all shoppers to leave the store immediately, on police advice. As we were half way through the check-out procedure we were rushed through, half the items not charged for and out the door. There had been a gas supply puncture, and the whole town centre was cleared. Had all these people decided to pop into the supermarket during the evacuation for a bit of shopping before the potential explosion ! IF we had followed my first plan and gone to M&S etc first, not only would we have scarily been in the middle of the crowds being pushed back, more importantly I would not have got my weekly food shop done.

Today I had planned to go to a country fair for the day but cancelled it as too far, too hot, too expensive, too too much. At the fair today was a big news-worthy accident, roads closed, tail backs, people stuck in traffic for ages. We may have been on that road at that time if we had gone.

Instead, I planned to ask the PA's help to clear the garage, fill the van and go to the local recycling centre. No, changed my mind again, that would have been a waste of lovely afternoon; not quite so hot and with a light breeze: smoke from today's fire at the recycling centre was seen ten miles away, the surrounding area was evacuated and road diversions were in place.

Smiling angels, hovering near, thank you *

Instead of all that, I have been Hoovering the Flow'ry Mead and many little creatures had narrow escapes.

A wonderful 'walk' up, down and around the ramparts of the local hill fort; the surrounding area first cleared for crop growing in approximately 4,000 BC (before Christ not before Cart-Horses), the hill settlement begun around 800 BC and and Romans invading and setting up camp in 43 AD.

Now the National Trust manage the chalk downland surrounding the ramparts, and today the tall grasses are seeding, the dragonflies hovering around the pond created half way up the wooded slopes, and masses of low and tall growing flowers are thickly colouring the green sward with swathes of purple, pink, red, blue, white, pale yellow, a table spread for masses of butterflies, bees, and all kinds of insects, especially crickets.

If I had been walking I would have been able to tread lightly on the earth, but trundling along in the wheelchair was a bit like 'hoovering' (not as bad as vacuuming) and I had a skirt full of crickets, of all kinds, who came for the ride and jumped off when they had had enough. Shield bugs with bronze backs glinted in the sun and I avoided those, changing down a gear or three to a slow meandering pace to see them in time, but the green ones had to make their own escape. When we arrived back at the car my wheelchair footplate had caught a dozen tiny whorled baby snails, the stripey ones, which we carefully prised out of the crevices and returned to bits of suitable habitat. They had a narrow escape.

We ended the afternoon at a farmer's new venture. Due to various farming regulations, he cannot make a profit from his herd's creamy milk, so he has diversified into ice-cream. Proper iced cream, with real Pistachio nuts, good Chocolate, local Strawberries, tropical Coconut and Papaya, and amazing Liquorice. Bliss. A good end to a meltingly hot week.


* The Angels sit in trees and fan a breeze
from Hermes wings at ankles,
attached for convenience.

Shoulder wings were suited best to thermals;
sitting here only zephyr wings will do
where ankles are glimpsed by ladies
dreaming below the leaves and boughs,
unbending under their gossamer load.

Songs sung at Nativity are not here,
just whispers, sighings, calmings;
all comes clear.

Saturday, 22 July 2006

We are all one another

I am not a political animal and this is certainly not an analysis of the world political situation. I can no longer keep up with thrice daily or sometimes not even the daily news updates, but I am aware and I do care.

So I sometimes feel that we are in the midst of WW3, although I would not want to commit as to how long I feel we - the world - has been in WW3. I think that the reason our politicians, and your's, don't have to admit that WW3 is in progress (progress!) is that we do not suffer, as others do in many other parts of the world, in our homes, neighbourhoods, towns and villages. The bombs don't reach our street.

(POSTSCRIPT a few hours later: I only see my own errors post-posting. I was thinking about families and homes being bombed by invaders, but the distinctions and boundaries blur, so sincere apologies for my apparent ignorance, to those affected in cities; London, Manchester.)

So long as we are not invaded on our little island, in our country, on our continent, our elected leaders (those we may not have voted for) can continue to righteously and deludedly refer to the misery and death inflicted, or colluded in, in our name by our leaders, and our leaders' friends, as 'a war on terror', rather than have to state our participation in a world war. The legal requirements for a declaration of war protect this very comfortable status.

Thirty years ago I took the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and smiled into the camera with the famous Twin Towers behind me, so I felt connected and devastated; prayed (whatever prayer is) and tried to understand. To understand the agony and destruction and the impetus behind the destruction.

Whether they are the victims or the aggressors; whatever their colour, culture, religion or cause, they are my fellows; my fellow sisters, daughters, mothers; my fellow brothers, fathers and sons.

I know this because their country wo/men, their cousins, are my doctors, my teachers, my care assistants, shop assistants, my entertainers, poets, artists, musicians, newscasters and political analysts. We may even be distantly related, given our ancestors' global trading and invading.

We are all one another.

Friday, 21 July 2006

Mini mazes

I never did get round to ordering broadband as the day got full up and the evening is blogging catch up. So BB will have to wait until after the weekend's neuro-toxic drug dose.

I went to the hospital for my regular check-up this morning. All is well, keep taking the tablets, keep out of the sun (!). In today's 27C I was dreading it because the waiting area in Rheumatology is hot even on a sunny day in January and the consulting room is small and hotter and the examination room is a hot stuffy tomb. All is changed. Either Air-Con has arrived or the windows have had heat reflecting treatment, or both. Also the lighting is different, so now I don't get Lupus related face burn from the fluorescent overheads. The waiting area has had a make over; comfortable high seats with wooden arms (not that I transfer into one) connected to corner tables and planters, all tastefully arranged in flowing curves to maximise use of space. No space left for wheelchairs. That's right - no space. In a hospital ! The only place for me and one other wheelchair to park was in the circulation area, where people circulate, walk to and fro, stand and talk. In the way.

On the way out I took a mini diversion in the maze that is the local hospital, to note waiting areas in other departments. All had the same arrangement of new chairs, linked tables and planters. All wheelchairs, whether from other hospital departments with porters attached, or individual wheely's own, were parked in circulation spaces, no space anywhere else.

So the first of today's mini mazes that took up time and energy was PALS. Patient Advice and Liaison Service. The very helpful liaisonesse was equally stunned, having heard of DDA, and she is going to ask the Estates Manager why (oh why oh why) and (here it comes again) would I be interested in joining a consultation group for such things. Yes, I would be very interested, count me in. Again.

Home ward. I love the point in my journey when I leave the busy B road and turn off to go over one of the infrequent majestic ancient stone bridges that cross the mighty Stour river. From traffic to lush meadows, in a space of just a few metres. Cows, trees, water, birds, calm, quiet. Meandering driving slowly through my village looking through the spaces between the houses towards the fields, I spot a large sign on a stile on a footpath - NO DOGS - painted in large blood red letters on a black board. That is ridiculous. All the village dogs and their owners, well behaved, the owners cleaning up and the dogs keeping the owners on leads, all use that footpath, as do rambling visitors from all over the area. It is an essential link in a larger popular walking route.

The steps on this, today's second maze, no, not really a maze, just another diversion of energy; were phone calls to the rights of way team at county hall, to locals with an interest from whom I discover that there has been (allegedly) intimidation of walkers by the landowner, including (allegedly) intimidation of the parish council footpath liaison officer, and (allegedly) to a new village incomer with dogs. Phone the lady who has the determination to sort this out, firstly to reassure her of their rights, but secondly to explain why dogs are a grey area in rights of way law, but intimidation is a definite no no, and thirdly to say the landowner has a bit of a reputation and usually carries a gun for rough shooting of rabbits on his land. Not of people on leads with dogs (allegedly). So let the professionals from county hall deal with him first. No, perhaps a protest meeting in the middle of the footpath that goes through his land with all the dogs and owners, not the best way forward at this stage.

My next trick will be getting the landowner's locked gate next to the stile, replaced with a wheelchair accessible 'kissing gate' so that I can join in. When the ground is baked hard in the summer. It is wonderful up at the top of his field, looking down onto my cottage and the village, the river running behind the gardens, the valley sweeping up the other side with a line of mature trees on the horizon.

Perhaps that is what irritates the land owner. Other people using his land.

Thursday, 20 July 2006

Why I am not 'Cool'


Thank you friends and visitors for your comments while I have been in the maze. I will catch up soon.

I am not yet out of the maze, but I can see the way clear. There are a few twists and turns yet to be negotiated, but I can at least see them ahead to see where they are going, and what they will lead to. Enough of metaphors. I am now trudging forward fairly confidently and have progressed significantly since Sunday's despair; mythical stories of Herculean trials and damsels in distress have nothing on a 21C cogdysfunck'd crip getting to grips with technology.

At least the chaps on the various helplines (especially those located in India) know better these days than to patronise a female, and a disabled one at that. The BT chap had the added advantage of sounding familiar, being located just few miles from where I was born on the Yorks/Derbys border. I am a connoisseur of regional accents; a devotee who used to be able to distinguish between east of Sheffield and west of Sheffield, or was it north -v- south of Sheffield.

This weather ?!?! That is partly why I am not cool today.
This is England, right, and we have a green landscape from all that rain we get 11.5 months of the year and warm summers that sometimes reach a balmy 24 degrees C. Well, not anymore; whether (! ha pun) its global warming or high pressure stuck over south west England, it is suddenly much worse than my experiences in Algeria and Crete, where the humidity was less.
Here my humidity monitor is registering 65%, which turns the actual air temperature of 85F into an' apparent' temperature of 92F, according to my conversion chart. Compare that with low humidity of say 40%, and an air temperature of 85F would translate to an apparent temperature of 86F. (Not bad going for a slightly cogdysfunck'd brain !)

I have the impression that it is not 'cool' to admit to having problems dealing with advances in technology. Everyone else seems to know what they are doing, or have on hand (i.e. free) someone who does and can sort it out for them. I don't, and have to pay for help, so I try to do it myself, hence the maze.

Generally, I keep up quite well, because the new information is generally out there somewhere and it is just a matter of finding it. And knowing what it is called in order to look it up ! I have heard the moans of a 'Blackberry' chained IBM employee, listened to the Green Party meeting in the village hall about Tetra masts, radio waves (and ley lines crept in somehow !). My laptop, software and internet protection generally update themselves providing I have paid them. I have the digital camera I would like on my Amazon wish list, but spend my limited budget on books instead (150 anniversary edition of Walt Whitman). I scan flowers and seed heads to my laptop and print my own writing paper (for friends who appreciate snail mail) and email Social Services rather than phone, now that they have accepted this disability necessity of mine.

All in all I have been a happy bunny. Until my internet protection needed upgrading. That lead me into the maze. Which in a very 'uncool' fashion I am going to describe, because it may be (a) my cogdysfunck'd brain and therefore my disability that led to my despair, or it may be (b) that new technology is very complicated for everyone, but in order not to appear 'uncool' people are not admitting this.

THURSDAY morning:
I have arrived at the middle of the maze. Its shady, cooler (only 27F today) and I can see the way out of here, as follows ...

Skip the entire next long paragraph if you are cool or bored or don't want to go there ...

The maze began with Norton internet security live update not updating, the next twist was tech support for my version of Norton ended, so pay to upgrade. Upgrade download (get your little brain round that first Sally) took three hours on dial up, and failed after two hours. Phone helpline, they will send upgrade on disc, take 7-10 workings days. I can't wait that long. Look into changing from dial up to broadband that my 'bump' has been nagging me to do for yonks. Neighbour says I can get broadband and free internet phone calls for price of current dial up. My eyes sparkle at thought of saving money. Find out I need to keep existing BT landline (no one told me this) so no saving there. Discover I need an internet phone to plug into laptop. More expense. Decide no. So keep current BT landline package. No money saved. Discover that BT broadband includes Norton internet security. Save money by not paying for Norton upgrade as included in BTBB package. Cancel Norton upgrade (nice man in India very helpful). All this time I am not happy connecting to internet without virus protection etc. No blogging. Spend a lot of time on the phone trying to get information. This leads to my tinnitus screaching and pinging and the white noise in my head is very very loud. Spend a lot of time on laptop writing notes on every step of the way, which is the only way for my cogdysfunck'd brain to keep track of the twists, turns, and direction decisions. Try to save money by looking into cancelling BT rented phone (which gives me a free headset, essential in disabilities) as buying a phone is so so cheap, but find buying the headset costs almost twice as much as the phone. No saving money there. Discover that BT have an excellent disabled customer service phone helpline, and they give me lots of time to talk through my options for renting/buying phone. BT chap (no BT chappesses anywhere in all this) tells me I can upgrade my battered rented BT phone to latest model at no extra charge with new headset and for free they will link me to BT's Privacy service and the phone will have caller display function, and there will be no charge for BT's caller display service. That is a good service. I have had nasty phone calls from oddballs and despite using the Telephone Preference Service to block double glazing salesmen, still get a few nuisance/selling/unsolicited calls, so caller display will help (sorry non UK readers for this UK centric detail). BT have more time and more patience through their dedicated service to disabled customers, so I did not spend much time looking into other broadband providers. Discuss with neighbour who cannot understand why I choose BT over cheaper new kids on the block, so slight digression into facts of disabled life. Disability costs more. Hit a bit of a blind alley; I need a bit that plugs into the phone socket and an external modem, which are supplied by the broadband supplier BT. BT chap initially assumed I would put my modem on my desk next to my laptop. No. Another digression into facts of disabled life - I recline online - in bed; in reclining chair in sitting room with earl grey tea within reach, with a low fat hob nob ('hobnob' without the space somehow is more appealling with earl grey) biscuit to nibble (see what I mean!) and I hope to recline in a wheelchair with a reclining feature, as well as sit in a wheelchair at a desk - when they have built the extension to my little cottage to make room for a desk etc. So although I can envisage carrying my laptop from bed to chair to w/chair, not an external BT broadband modem as well. BT man asks have I consider a wireless home hub. Not a home hubby, not available from BT. Well that's a shame because the rest of their service is excellent so I would expect a BT hubby to be quite worthwhile considering, wouldn't you single lady crips too ? Initial reaction to radio waves bouncing about the cottage was remembering the Green Party's comments (see above). And it was bound to be expensive because new technology stuff always is and the only friends who blather on about their latest toys are ones who can afford 1/8th inch thin televisions and picture phones and all other technology that would just be too much for my little slow brain to contemplate. And for crips sake, I am nearly old, and its all getting a bit too much ! However, no need to give up just yet on the brave new world. Then I found that the Hub is included in the BTBB package. Did I say also that the Norton annual subscription is also included in the BTBB package, so all in all my switch from dial up to broadband will cost me precisely £5.5o per month more. Those of you not dependent on UK disability and means tested benefits will not appreciate why every little £ extra committment has to be given serious thought. In terms of one-off capital expenditure all I need to spend money on is an extra bit to make my laptop gobble up the radio waves from the home hub. Phone laptop supplier. The lady has matured considerably since I purchased this laptop two years ago from her. She no longer has problems dealing with an oldy disabled lady technophobe (ok I have technology-matured a bit too) and is quite happy to accommodate my need to take this next step slowly with lots of explanatory digressions, before I commit. Discovered that the empty space ... (which bewildering is called a PC Card slot in the picture - god I hope I've got that bit right)... behind the flap on the left side of the laptop is where the wireless network adaptor pops into the laptop. All instructions included. And the WNA only costs a few little £s more than what the Norton upgrade would have cost me - remember that was where this maze began. And she volunteered information that it would be a good idea to have the WNA in place in the laptop and ready to go, for when the BT man arrives with the home hub, and configures the router and gives me the W.E.P. key which is not a key (for a lock) but a number as in a code (I had asked where do I put the key! Told you I was slow. Well at least I am telling you about it so if you ever get in a similar maze you don't ask the same stupid question !). Then I can check that it all works together with the BT engineer on hand (don't let him out the door until) to deal with any hiccups.

THURSDAY evening.
Having decided to commit to BTBB I have to go online, despite my virus updates being un-updateable and therefore internet security not assured. I risk infection. In order to get BTBB package with free hub I have to order online, ordering by phone means a charge for hub. So I connect to my dial up. I get a message from Norton that my automatic updates are out of date. I flippin' well know they are out of date, that is why I got into this maze a week ago. It ran automatic live update anyway ... AND what do you know, but the blasted thing updated - live - automatically - without aborting - without an error message telling me it failed again. I am back to the same point where I started. No, not back where I started in this maze - because after all the hard work on the phone this last week I now appreciate that this is a clever maze, and just the other side of this bit of the track, is the exit. The exit sign also says 'hello broadband' and I reward myself by blogging about it.

I am so overcome with relief about everything, that I savour the moment, and put off actually doing it until tomorrow. It will be cooler then.

Night night.

Sunday, 16 July 2006

Pit Stop

I am on a very long journey.
I am traversing the maze I referred to in 'Leave well enough alone'.
Kafka knows what I am on about.
So I thought I would stop by for some refreshment.
Refreshment is putting it out on my page, out of my head, frustrations and fears laid down in the written word.

It is the same for everyone who is disabled in England; you think you have sorted the problem out and left the maze behind, only to find you are at the beginning of another one.
Because it is an endless journey.

In order to use the laptop I need internet security protection.
That is why I am in the current maze.
I cannot slash through the maze with a machet.
I have to follow it, no matter how tired, dazed, daunted I am.
When I have found the route through the maze to the centre, I will find the solution to the current problem, and it will point to the way out of the maze, which will be long.

Then I will be out of this maze.
And ready for the next one.

Which is called Social Care & Health v.1 Adaptations (remaining skirmishes), and the one after that which is called The Benefits System, and after that SC&H v.2 Fairer Charging Review, then SC&H v.3 Direct Payments Review, then SC&H v.4 Care Review, SC&H v.5.a Direct Payments subsection 2 Employment of Staff, v.5.b.DP spreadsheet financial summary update (via email so not just yet), v.5.a.subsection 3 Payroll (via email ditto).

I think it is called 'Independent Living'.

I am getting too tired to keep doing this on my own.

Today is the first of two 'down days' from the neuro-toxic drug that has prolonged my life(without which survival rates for Systemic Lupus were 12 years from onset) so maybe it will all feel different in a day or two - the maze hedge will only be 3ft high not 12ft so I will clearly be able to see the way out.

Meet me at the other end would you !

Thursday, 13 July 2006

Leave well enough alone

My childhood was peppered with parental comments that taken literally meant little to me, but the meaning and intent was clear enough from the accompanying inflection.

I left my Yorkshire birthplace to live in London when I was eighteen, and I have stayed south ever since. I left behind a broad accent and a colloquial language that said little; spoken with an economy of words in a series of stock phrases (which saved thinking creatively), but intended a lot, and the intention was indicated by inflection. The interpretation of inflection was crucial. My Derbyshire grandmother used the same word: 'mun' with opposite meanings, and because she spoke (to children) infrequently, usually to admonish, interpreting her inflection was crucial. For example: You mun do that - meaning 'you must NOT do that' and the opposite: You mun do that - meaning 'you MUST do that'; as an instruction. Maybe that is what happens to all women after bringing up eight children. With an outside toilet and no bathroom. Maybe there was no energy left to use language creatively.

So, the phrase which in my head I hear my mother saying to me: "leave well enough alone", up until today, had the meaning left over from useage in my childhood, which was used as a warning to keep off, keep away, keep quiet. The two words 'leave alone', would have sufficed, but were made more weighty, more dread, by adding: 'leave well enough'. It is so difficult to describe here what I can hear in my memory.

Today the phrase rang repeatedly over a number of situations, and so today after all these years, that phrase altered, expanded, to mean: ' leave that which is well enough, alone'.

During the two years I have used my wonderful IBM laptop, the pre-loaded Norton (I know!) automatic updates have kept the web-borne bugs at bay, until the live web based updates system failed to work recently. My cogdsyfunck'd brain saw the processing of the solution as a maze wherein it would be lost forever, so I decided to ask for professional help. He arrived an hour late at noon, but before doing what I had asked (contracted) him to do, he wanted to do something else. So he installed that and left it running on the laptop when I said sorry but I have another meeting soon. I had to virtually push him out of the door five minutes before the arrival of ...

My OT (lovely lady) attempted to make a REMAP designed swing away tilting table hold my laptop so I could use the table over my reclining chair. An exhausting hour later I (my tired brain) had explained and physically demonstrated why all her well meaning ideas were ... useless actually, but said more gently and politely by me. Back to using the laptop on the laptray on my lap. Only an hour's precious energy wasted. Leave what works well enough, alone.

Then the OT and I reviewed my ablution's needs. What I have now is not safe. It also exhausts me. Physical fatigue results in more brain fatigue. After taking a shower I cannot speak or think coherently for ages. Flushing the loo wipes my brain (a colloquial expression) due to Meniere's Syndrome. What I have asked my OT for in adaptations is expensive of money and space. OT thinks tinkering with what I have currently will meet my future (defined as twelve months in the legislation) needs and save money on the grants budget. An exhausting hour later when ... (repeat from above para lines 2-4) ... politely by me. Back to my solution, requested eighteen months ago. A second hour's precious energy wasted. Leave what I think will work well enough, alone.

Then my 'bump' swung by, after her (local) hospital consultation, which she had conserved all this week's energy for. She was so impressed that the consultant did not recommend more drugs or surgery for a chronic problem, but concurred with her ideas for management of that aspect of her ill health. Left what worked well enough, alone. Rare indeed.

She and I watched my laptop slaving away at the task the IT professional had set it. I said to her: its not working is it and she agreed. I said: he has caused more problems hasn't he and she agreed.

Pausing only for a handful of drugs to keep me going, a cup of caffeine and a wodge of high cocoa solids chocolate to keep my brain in gear, I phoned the IT man. Walking the few hundred yards down the village, he returned promptly. Two hours later he had demonstrated to himself what I already knew and had suggested six hours earlier. That my laptop would not be happy with what he wanted to install to fix a problem that he thought would be the source of the originating problem with Norton automatic updates, rather than what I had told him was the route (a maze to me) to finding a solution to the the problem. No progress had been made with that original problem I had asked him to look at. He had to un-install what he had installed. He had to clean up the mess his idea had left on my laptop. He had not left what already worked well enough, alone. Tomorrow I take my cogdysfunck'd brain for an scary journey of trying to solve it myself. If you don't hear from me for a while, I am still in the maze.

However, wouldn't you just know it - today's worst situation (which you really don't want to be bored by), that was not left well enough alone, was entirely my own fault. I should know better. I should never have tried to do it. Previously I had known enough not to ask the useless home help number two (sacked her anyway) to do it, as she would have made a mess of it, guaranteed. I thought I could do it. In just five minutes I made a complete b.... up of it. It was reasonably ok before, now it is going to cost me money to get someone to put it back to how it was before I thought I could make it slightly better. Oh flippin' 'eck.

Leave what works well enough, alone.

Wednesday, 12 July 2006


Being a firm believer in Jung's philosophy of synchronicity, the two instances today of friends asking if I knew where a quote (on 'vexations to the spirit') or a poem ('You are a child of the universe') could be found, confirmed my idea of posting this. I had been thinking of doing so for a while, so today synchronicity confirms me to do so. It is very well known so will be familiar to many of you.

Those old enough may recall it being recorded as spoken word with orchestration and backing choir, in the 60s. Now I have a poster of it placed in my home where my eye catches it often, usually at the sentence that is pertinent at the time.

It is copyright of Max Ehrmann with the information: 'Found in Old Saint Paul's Church, Baltimore, dated 1692'.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however, humble, it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noise and confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Amen to all that.

Friday, 7 July 2006

Oh Tennis

Oh Baghdatis, Oh No, Oh !

Thursday, 6 July 2006

3 Year Campaign = 2 Days of Work

I cannot believe how the Universe works, don't the gods who organise these things know I get tired tired tired !

Regular blessed readers and commentors to my blog will know that I am currnetly campaigning on two fronts; one - wheelchair access adaptations to my home; 2 - wheelchair access adaptations to the great outdoors, no not my garden - to countryside and coast, village paths and town routes, under the Countryside and Righs of Way Act 2000 and Local Transport Plans.

Yesterday I had the biggest most significant meeting with Social Care and Health that decided, after three years, that yes IT will happen, soon, without delay, with funding, with my needs taken into account. SC&H will appoint project managers who will prepare plans, obtain planning permission, invite tenders, appoint contractors, get the work done. SC&H will find me somewhere to live for the three months it will take (I will believe that when it happens). All this has finally unequivocally been agreed. With no more faffing about by the Dorset County Council Major Adaptations Panel, in fact after a total climb down by the Dinosaurs who have not read the legislation and government guidelines. My Member of Parliament has been immensely helpful and his quiet polite interventions have no doubt had an effect on the Dinosaurs. I have yet to decided whether to let the Local Government Ombudsman take a look at my experience and the three years delay to achieving wheelchair access in my home, and decide whether to make their own recommendations to Dorset County Council on the workings of SC&H and the Panel.

Today, fulfilling the role Dorset County Council appointed me to three years ago, I have the most significant meeting of the Rights of Way Improvement Plan sub group of the Dorset Local Access Forum, where after three years of meetings and discussions, finally we meet to decide what we will be recommending for funding. Where I alone will be fighting for wheelchair access to paths, routes and access land that in their natural state are wheelchair accessible at dry seasons but are currently blocked by man made obstacles such as stiles and locked gates. Where I alone will be fighting for an allocation of the budget for wheelchair access, against the historical and numerical lobbying might of the other calls for funding allocation; from the Ramblers Association, Cyclists and Equestrians. Where I alone will be asking for an allocation from the budget for the Dorset County Rights of Way team to recruit a volunteer group of independent wheelchair users, so that there are trained volunteer wheelchair users who can be consulted in a way similar to those long established volunteer organisations, the Ramblers Association, the British Horse Society and Cycling clubs, who have all had years of volunteers lobbying for their causes - just look at the huge number of footpaths signs, and sign-posted bridle paths for horses and sign-posted cycle routes. Compare those with the number of sign-posts in towns, villages, countryside, coasts, with the wheelchair symbol on them. I am not alone in the greater picture; there are many other individuals and organisations (the Disabled Ramblers) campaigning for disabled access to the countryside and coast and accessible urban routes, its just that in Dorset to date a volunteer group of independent wheelchair users has not yet happened effectively. It will.

Why can't these important and tiring events be spread out a bit more - why do the most critical but exhausting meetings happen together, why oh why oh why.

Why am I blogging about it, rather than getting on with meeting preparation ? This is my meeting preparation, to get it straight in my head first.

Isn't blogging wonderful !

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Saturday, 1 July 2006


Sat in my garden, I miss their quiet heavyness on the dry warm grass. Standing, shuffling, come to this place again. The grazing beef cattle; untroubled, stolid, progressing around their kingdom, up bank and down ditch, stopping to gaze, at me or a tree or a hedge. Munching or treading, the grass was the key.

In the grass slide the slow worms, march the toads, scurry the mice and voles; buzzards climbing high thermals above, watching for the wave disturbance below that shows where the food moves along.

Hovering little birds above tall unbroken grasses, to dart in for a fly or a bug. Daringly plodding crows or rooks, turning about circle in the same speed of strutt around the whisked tails from cattle butts sat together in a particular favoured place.

The grass is all. Munched, flattened, sat upon, shat upon, fly breeding for baby birds; swallows and house martins busy as gliders skimming fast, mouths open taking in sustenance.

Gliders flew from grassy fields, over seas and fields to drop sustenance, took off from the next hill over there, to France, to bear arms and bear witness that they came from what is right. England.

Not patriotism, just that is where I am and that is what I speak of. My bit of England. The bit that I know, which is known differently to how it is known by my neighbours. The know their land differently. Theirs' to do with as they wish. They wish to dig it over, plant it with sheds, greenhouses, concrete paving slabs, metal and canvas furniture, parasols, bedding plants, rockeries. They may do as they wish.

It is someone else's field, my borrowed landscape, and they do as they wish.

Cut it, shave it weekly, disallow the cattle, the cowpats, the flies, the food sources. Each day the hour or more's pollution of air and quiet and visual peace, is their perogative.

I just wish it was not so.

Yet there is another field beyond them which is not their's, and another three adjoining not their's either, that remain; quietly not cultivated, owned, not altered. Where skylarks, buzzards, foxes inhabit, where deer come if I am up early enough to see them, who come regardless of whether or not I see them. Mother alert, watching eyes, neck flicking from side to side, head looking around, behind, while her two daughters (I imagine), slighter, softer, gentler fawn brown, content and unconcerned pick out the morning's break-fast delicacies from amongst the grasses.

I pleaded with the field owner for the grass beneath the old wide spreading tree and he has left that to grow up again and nettles and buttercups are beginning to come again and a variety of grasses. So the flies come again and make the tight figures-of-eights worthwhile for the house martins; just a quick few yards dash from the babies in their mud cup nests under the eaves, over the fence, round the tree and brambles and nettles and back again, with a soft balled insect meal.

There are two breaths in this afternoon's air; the fresh sea tinged (I imagine) breeze from the south east, and the thick sense of the warm grass rising up from the ground.

Two sources of noise on the afternoon air: the ancient denizens; chaffinch and blackbird, he singing after his drink in my garden, the woodpigeon in the tree: the recent arrival; cottagers no more in this old settlement, but house owners newly invigorated with tower tools and leisure time; threats to the landscape of this ancient settlement. This too will pass.