Filed under: food, Steampunk, Travel | Tags: Asylum, David Bennett, Isabella Bunny Bennett, Lincoln, Sam Luke, Skegness, Steam Powered Giraffe
It was Sam Luke I spotted first and I was confirmed it was him when I saw Bunny Bennett to his left, she is a pretty young girl. Where did I see them? On the Steep Hill in Lincoln down from the Bailgate. Sadly I was too gobsmacked to speak. However by the time David Bennett came, shortly behind them I had found my voice and what did I say? “Look irs the Spine!”
My brother replied, “What?”
“The Spine!” I exclaimed too loudly. However David heard and gave me a wave. I am chuffed. That was just one high spot in a day of high spots.
Last night, having at last, made it to Lincoln I went to the Advanced Guard, a party for Asylum weekend ticket holders who had turned up early. (Guinness £3.00 a pint) A crazy transvestite comedian and a soprano mistress of Off Coloratura Innuendo. Good start.
This morning, in beautiful sunshine, I drank tea in my brother’s garden before joining him on a short cycle ride. Then it was into Lincoln for the Asylum beginning with Virgin’s Meet for first time attendees. Some chatting with creative types before visiting the Market in The Methodist Hall. I was saved from buying a ridiculously well priced cap only by my big head. However there were some amazingly creative people peddling some amazing craftsmanship.
I bumped into my brother and his wife in the castle and so together we went to see the Poppy Wave which had been at the Tower of London. It was as we went in search of tea that we saw the members of Steam Powered Giraffe.
The best thing about being too late to get tickets to all the evening events I’d have liked is that I get to spend more time with my brother and his wife. This evening we drove to Skegness, walked along the Front then had Fish and Chips at Tony’s before going home. The wonderful thing is that I have a whole day of fun ahead of me tomorrow so I’d better get some sleep now!
- Tonight, just a place holder blog post because I shall be up early in the morning to catch a train to Lincoln. Technically a bus and three trains, but you know what I mean. Sadly none of those trains will be drawn by a steam locomotive which renders my title somewhat incorrect. However I am going to Lincoln to attend Asylum, Europe’s largest Steampunk Festival, hence the title is not inappropriate however inaccurate.
Filed under: disability, Health, Parenting, personal development | Tags: CFIDS, chronic fatigue, chronic illness, ME
Recently a friend posted about her continuing health difficulties. She overexerted herself while suffering from influenza, now a year later she is still unwell and it is being explained as post-viral debility. That is a road down which I too have walked.
When I was a manager and training officer as well as being the Managers’ Association Branch Chairman I was busy. I had been busy in the Union Of Communication Workers negotiating around Operator Grades Restructuring and then I was promoted. As well as being in charge of night staff training I was travelling all around the country training people in Customer Care and I loved it. I also deputised for the Night Manager when he was away for any period. I also managed both a team of Operators and Senior Operators as well as the Exchange training Team, in one year I had to appraise thirty people. I enjoyed the responsibility of management, the satisfaction of running successful trainings, negotiating as am Association official, speaking at conference. I used to get the occasional cold and flu, but they didn’t stop me, I worked through them. Iworked through them until my body just gave up on me. During one bout of flu I became too ill to work and was forced to take a little time off. I rushed back to work as soon as I could, but was hit by bout after bout of illness. I was exhausted, tired all the time. At first I was diagnosed as being ‘post-viral’. Eventually my Doctor diagnosed me as having Chronic Fatigue and Immuno Dysfunction Syndrome. I spent months in bed , but gradually built up my levels of activity. However I was off for a year before after a phased return of several months I started working full time again. Sadly it was felt that the irregular shifts of the night staff would no longer suit me, nor the rushing around the country and so I worked for some years a a day staff team manager.
After a while I was so much better I began getting busy again, taking on all sorts of extra activities. What I had not realised was that the illness was dormant rather than gone. It was not long before I found my body rebelling again. I fell prey to every passing virus and the muscle pain and exhaustion returned. However I gradually learned to recognise when my CFIDS was getting ready to hit me again, and I learned to reign back my activity and rest. Didn’t always manage it and I paid, but I discovered that there was a particular physical sensation heaviness which when accompanied by a distinctive sore throat generally meant an attack was coming. Sometimes I still do too much especially when after weeks of rain I get a couple of good days to get on with the work in my garden. Several times I have paid heavily for excessive enthusiasm. This year I have been struggling with discomfort for much of the summer, but I haven’t hit the point of shut down because I have finally been self disciplined about pacing my activity. I have used a timer to measure my physical labour and made sure I rested. When I have been tired I have forced myself to accept that some tasks had to be postponed. What I have learned is that it is always possible to substitute a lighter physical activity for a heavy one. Sometimes I have to spend a day resting, some days I have been unable to stay on my feet for any period of time. However when I take the rest I need instead of just forcing myself to continue, the sooner I am able to get up and get on with living.
One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that my duty is to myself first and if I cannot function I cannot effectively serve others either. The frustration of my CFIDS when it was at its height aggravated my periodic depressions. Now I have learned that my happiness matters and restores my health and energy. I have found that being ill does not mean I have to be miserable. I have long used the Marx Brothers as a counter for an incipient depression, now I try to always do something pleasurable when unwell because it seems to promote recovery. I read, I watch DVDs, if I am up to it I go to the cinema or even use my over Sixties bus pass to take a day out (sadly I’ve only managed it once so far this year). It is important to have fun and it promotes recovery. Feeling good makes me feel better. Feeling good about myself makes me feel better and feeling good about myself means accepting what is so and being good to myself instead of wallowing in regrets or resenting what I can’t do. And sometimes I reflect on how lucky I am to be able to do all that I can when so many people are compelled by circumstance to do so much less. My illness was a blow, it was inconvenient, I believed for a while it was ruining my life, but what I now know is that it was teaching me the lessons about living sensible and looking after myself that I was too stupid or too busy to learn for myself.
As those who know me know, every day I practice gratitude as I journal. I cannot honestly yet say I am grateful for my CFIDS, but I am grateful for the lessons I have learned from it, and I am glad I have learned to be kind to myself. People say, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” I think it’s probably better for everyone if you do unto yourself what you would have others do unto you. After all why should others treat you well if you aren’t aren’t willing to?
My cat and I sit in silence, side by side on the armchair. Me on the seat with my feet up. He upon the arm until, as is his wont he subtly shifts onto my lap. Sometimes he shifts so stealthily that I am unaware. Should I express surprise at finding him having moved he immediately considers it a declaration of intent to pet him and positions himself accordingly. Sometimes he moves back onto the arm, the better to meet me eye to eye and to head-butt me should I stop paying him attention. My cat has a hard head.
I had not wanted a cat. More precisely I had not wanted another pet. I like animals, I hate losing them. However it was a choice between us and the SSPCA or whoever re homes cats and I preferred him not to have to rely on the kindness of strangers and so the Wee Man became my cat. Perhaps I should say our cat, but he has firmly attached himself to me, perhaps because I am a softer touch than my wife. She is good to him, but noy prepared to spend as long in conversation with him. That’s what happens when you have a cat, you think they are talking to you and many of those conversations end with me desperately pleading, “What is it, what are you saying, I don’t understand?”.
The only time he is completely clear is when he stands at the back door and quite clearly says, “Out”. That doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to go out, but just that he wants the door open so that he can watch the world and decide whether to go or not. That’s not so bad in summer, but less comfortable in January. Some days he will spend mostly outside, coming in occasionally for a quick snack before once more demanding egress. Sometimes he only comes in for the amusement of demanding to be let out again immediately, or perhaps he’s just checking up on me to make sure I’m not doing anything of which he would not approve like eating fish when he’s not looking.
He likes his fish. Every Wednesday is ‘Fish Day’. Not Friday, he’s not a Christian cat. Like most cats he’s a sceptic. I know he’s a sceptic, I’ve seen the expression on his face when I tell him it’s too late, too dark to go out. However as I said he does love ‘Fish Day’. I am more concerned by his ‘cat cocaine’ habit. Yes he loves Dreamies and can be very demanding when he wants them. On the plus side if it’s late and I wand him to come it I just stand at the door and open the bag and he appears from nowhere at high speed. I used to think the advertisements were ridiculous, now I realise they are only just an exaggeration.
Some cats are delicate and precise in their movements. Wee man can be a bit of a bruiser. I have tried leaving my bedroom door open a little bit so that he can go in and out without battering it wide open. Total waste of effort, whichever direction he’s going he still shoulders it open! When I’m getting dressed I now turn my back to the bed. I mentioned he likes to head butt. Too often it’s my butt that gets butted, however I have learned that is preferable to being butted when facing the bed and that’s more than enough information.
However much I might not have wanted another cat, a house without a cat feels somehow empty as if the cat gives the house a presence that even its owners don’t. I won’t say a cat is not demanding, but I will agree they are less demanding than a dog. However when a cad makes demands he expects you to fill fulfil them immediately and there will be no peace until you do. You may be able to say no to a dog, you can say no to a cat, but it will utterly ignore you.
Cats are company…when they want to be. When they don’t want, you’ll just have to wait until they’re ready. The wait is worth it. I sit on my chair or upon my bed, my cat beside me and the stress of the day just melts away to the rhythm of his purrs.