Not forgotten

I know I haven’t posted here in an age… It’s not that I haven’t had plenty of draft posts racing through my mind; I just haven’t had time, inspiration, motivation and computer access concurrently.

So, what’s got me ranting at the moment? TTIP (which I don’t really understand, but part of that is because no one’s talking about it and it’s been snuck in by MPs without the people they’re meant to work for having it explained and that doesn’t seem right). Jeremy Clarkson – in the sense that everyone’s talking about him when there’s bigger fish to fry. He doesn’t matter (don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that bad role model is off the air, but he really doesn’t matter). Some family stuff I may share in a year or two when the dust has settled and with the consent of those involved (or at least, those related to me and involved). The need for more instersectional feminism.

What’s keeping me occupied? Busy new job and busy new life. Stories. Knitting. Musings on death and bereavement (it’s already a year since my great-aunt died; more like 2 since my brother-in-law). More stories. My other blog. OU. Aerial. Cat. Family. Friends.

Have you been up to anything interesting?

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Yay for UK, Boo to Westminster

“English Votes on English Matters.”

No.

It’s taken me a while to work out my visceral response to this – a vehement “NO” despite my Englishness – but I think I have it.

It’s to do with privilege.

I’m pleased Scotland voted against independence. I’m very much in favour of fewer borders, not more and keenly identify as British over English. That said, I very strongly understand where the desire for independence has come from: London is far removed from Scotland and London’s problems are not Scotland’s problems (let’s lay aside for now that the problems the current Government are trying to resolved are far removed from most British people – including Londoners – are experiencing. That’s a wealth-based privilege, enhanced by class, race and gender). I think it is a good thing that Scotland is getting more power to deal with Scottish problems and I hope likewise a similar expansion of power is extended to Wales and Northern Ireland.

So why do I not feel England should have this? In many ways, we already have the power: decisions are predominantly made by English MP’s and in England. In this scenario, we are the privileged group and should be prepared to give a little power away to give voice to those with less privilege.

I’m not wording this as well as I’d like. I know less about politics than I’d like. But I hope you can see what I’m trying to say here: that “English Votes on English Matters” will lead to a greater feeling of isolation by the other nations of the UK and ultimately benefit no one.

I wear red to funerals.

My Great Aunt Lorna died recently. She was an amazing woman – a real inspiration. It was partly her (and partly channelling Agent Echo) that gave me the strength to jump, to make the decision to change the course of my career. I’d thought I was too old, but reading her life story and speaking to her last summer I realised it’s never too late to make a change like that. I’m excited about my future again and it’s down to her.

Lorna was still so sharp last summer – frail and nearly blind but still more mentally agile than many people my age. It was a real pleasure to see her and I’m very grateful I had that opportunity – I hadn’t otherwise seen her since I was too young to remember. She fell ill a couple of weeks before she died and faded surrounded by people who loved her. After an amazing life, is there anything more you can ask for?

I feel so lucky to have had her in my life and in my family.

It was her funeral today. She was quietly Catholic and this was the first catholic funeral I have been to*.The choral music was something she had requested, and it was beautiful but I have to say the funeral itself felt more like we were standing before a judge trying to justify her route to heaven with our own faith (and many, maybe most, of the people there not being catholic or even christian this seemed an awkward task). It seems odd – if there is a loving God, as my Great Aunt believed, I don’t think they would require our begging, I think Lorna’s life would be enough to sequre her passage, but I’m not catholic so maybe I was misunderstanding the ceremony. There will be a proper memorial later in the year to truly celebrate her and her achievements, one that her friends internationally can attend, and I think that is the sort of event closer to what I am used to in a funeral.

I like to wear red to funerals. Not lots of red, just something. It started at the second funeral I went to, my Grandada’s. I wasn’t sure what to wear, not owning sufficient black, and someone – I remember it as my Dad, but I’m not sure – suggested I wore a red kilt-skirt I owned. Black may be the colour of death, I believe the logic went, but life is red and funerals should celebrate the life as well as the loss. For me, it has become also a reminder that life continues for the rest of us – that life is vital and wonderful and death is just a part of that.

Normally, death terrifies me but something about Lorna’s feels ok. She lived absolutely; lived and died with love.

 

 

*Talking to my Aunt’s husband, an ex-soldier twice my age, he and I have been to the same number of funerals. That was a weird thing to discover. Is 6 a lot when you’re less than 30?

The Cat With No Name

TCWNN is not normally particularly photogenic – she isn’t particularly agreeable to staying still and her dark colouring can make it hard to show off the beauty she has in the flesh, but she was obviously feeling patient the day I took this – there were several photos and most of them didn’t suck!

Granma

“You can outlive longevity” My Dad told me that once about my Granma. Many years ago. 10 years before that, she’d told him she’d lived her life; she was ready for it to be over.

I visited my Granma today. I don’t go very often. I don’t like it. She’s normally still in bed and she can’t hear me and doesn’t always know who I am. Agent Echo’s fine – she breezes in and smiles and talks cheerfully and does Granma’s nails but I… I freeze up and notice her paper-thin skin and think of death.

Today, Daddy was just leaving when I arrived. She seemed shocked – who is this strange woman touching me? – and didn’t – wouldn’t – look at me. Dad told her who I was and held my hand over her bed, but I don’t think she heard him. He handed me a notepad so I could write to her and left.

“Hi Grandma, it’s Fern – hope you like the cyclamen.” She read the note, laid the pad on her bed and carried on looking away from me. She wouldn’t even look at the flowers. No chair, so I dithered on my feet by the bed, feeling lost and lonely and afraid. I took the pad back gently. Did I imgaine the slight frown on her face? “I can’t stay long, but it was really nice to see you. Loads of love. X” I handed it back. She took more time to read it and smiled. I explained I had to go shopping and left. She waved good bye.

The door needs a code to let you out (to stop the old people escaping? can’t have them loose in society). The nurse saw I didn’t know how to get out and joked I’d have to stay with Granma. More guilt that I rarely come and never stay long. More fear.

I told Granma I would come and see her again. I wasn’t sure if I was telling the truth.

 

Little Things

I’ve been feeling down lately. Not just for the obvious reason, but also generally apathetic. It’s not an unusual state of affairs for me, but I think it’s time I changed things.

To this end, I’ve decided to set myself challenges – things to do to break up the monotony of the routine I’ve fallen into. This post is part of that. Tuesday evenings are normally when I have jitsu and my routine would be to think of an excuse not to go, and then either go and feel better or not go and follow the same pattern I would on other nights: watch crappy tv that I don’t care about whilst playing games on my phone. It’s a ridiculous existance. Anyway, the jitsu club has broken for the summer so I need to find something else.

Challenges:

Today: blog post

Tomorrow: nothing (people coming over)

Thursday: like most people who read voraciously, I’d love to write a book. Thursday’s challenge is to write a proper chapter.

Friday: weather-dependent – swimming, ideally, but if there’s lightning or high winds it’s probably not safe so a bike ride if the wind’s low or either a walk or a drive if the wind’s high.

Saturday: Crumbowl. I play Blood Bowl and this is a tournament a friend runs. A one day event designed to encourage new players. A lot of fun and a forced break from routine 😉

Sunday: this is traditionally housework day, so it’s harder to break the routine especially when the chores can’t be done on the Saturday. It’s also roleplay week, which means the guys are over in the evening. I think, though, that I will try to fit in a cycle ride for the fresh air and exercise.

Small steps. Little things. But breaking things up, making changes, should help encourage me to do more and actually feel like I’m living, achieving and making progress in life.

Bereavement

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Husbit’s brother died back in May. It’s kept me quiet because my way of dealing with something like this is to talk and talk about it and his (and his family’s) is to stay quiet and private. I find that difficult, but this is really his grief so I have elected to stay quiet and respect his privacy.

I’m finally at a point where I’m able to talk about other things, so will try to get this blog running properly soon.