Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Sequel

A sequel to yesterday's posting, HOMECOMING, can be found on 'Mal's Murmurings'.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Malcolm's Travellers Tale

Once again, I've managed a weekend away and apart from a generalized fatigue and the usual aches I'm here to tell the tale!

24th March 2007

As we journey westwards, the day brightens and, once again I’m enraptured by the beauty on our doorstep as we traverse the dales and moorland. As we enter Lancashire, the roadside welcome sign is subtitled “Where Everyone Is Welcome”; I find myself wondering whether our return journey will witness a sign reading “Where No One Cares” as we re-enter God’s own county. The journey goes smoothly and, neither myself nor ma belle chauffeuse feel too exhausted by the effort.

Having signed in at the Travel Inn, my first impulse is to go and have a lie-down on the bed. After a brief rest, we look out of the window and see our friends Peter & Pamela have arrived at the nearby bar so, duty calls us to venture across and share a few glasses of vino before deciding on our evening meal. The conversation flows quite fluidly, after all, we’ve got a couple of years to catch up on since our previous meeting. That’s the beautiful thing about friendship, it’s almost as if the conversation continues from just the day before; an understanding of each others humour and situation makes things so much easier. Pamela and I are the experienced old crocks, Pamela having been a wheelchair user for many years now, although the image in my mind of her racing up fellsides, Peter and I breathlessly following, still seems fresh.

I’ve known the two P’s since university days and, Peter was best man when I married Helen seven brief years ago. Much as travelling disagrees with me, meeting up with old friends makes it most worthwhile. By the time we’ve had our meal, Pamela shows obvious signs of flagging so, we bid our adieus and, it’s not that much later when fatigue takes over for Helen and myself so, an early night is called for.

25th March 2007

To my surprise, we managed to make it down for breakfast in good time but, those old weary blues caught up with me by the time we’d ventured back to our room. A further lie down was called for and, this accounted for the rest of the morning (and early afternoon). By 2.00PM we were ready to head off to Peter & Pamela’s abode and, it wasn’t long before we ventured across to their wine cellar to select a bottle of bubbly. Conversation found its own direction and, we chatted about their Australian holiday as we looked at a few of the copious quantity of photos taken on that occasion as well as venturing down memory lane. For our meal we enjoyed one of Peter’s celebrated kipper and egg kedgerees accompanied by one of Tony Laithwaite’s Chilean Sauvignons. I declined the dessert, which the other three managed to demolish without my participation.

We arrived back at the hotel by 9.00PM, switched on the telly to watch what turned out to be a Jane Austen travesty, switched off the telly after about twenty minutes of this abhorrence and, decided it was time for an early night.

26th March 2007

Once more, this time slightly more of a struggle, made it down in time for breakfast then ventured back to the room where the need for rest was instantly apparent. I duly settled on the bed for forty winks but, when the staff came round to clean the room around 11.00AM I was sound asleep. Emerged from my slumbers at 11.30AM and we went out to sit and have a coffee on the benches outside of the bar whilst the necessary tasks were fulfilled by room service. Back to the room for a bit more rest and, I was just about alert by our friends arrived to direct us to their local, ‘The Hest Bank’. This proved a great opportunity to meet their friends, from Geriatrics Corner, much feted by both Peter and Pamela in their respective blogs. The most difficult decision for me to make, on this occasion, was that between ‘Black Sheep’, ‘Timothy Taylor’s Landlord’ or ‘Caledonian’. A couple of pints of ‘Black Sheep’ sufficed for me before we perused the menu. After an enjoyable meal, it was once more time to bid our farewells, an early night once more being a necessary part of our agenda.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Showers Of Blessing

Oh, the joy, the ecstasy! Who would have thought a piece of moulded plastic, with extendable parts, could be the source of so much pleasure. When my wife purchased it, she thought only of its utilitarian value; in no way could she have imagined the highs produced by this simple device. And the beauty of it is, no batteries required but, such pleasurable moistening!

Needless to say, the device could only be obtained from a shop specializing in such appliances. Where would we be without these specialist outlets?

For more months than I care to remember, a visit to the shower room was fraught with danger. If my beloved wasn’t around, there was no chance of me risking the experience; a sense of aching dis-equilibrium, of imminent collapse, made me fearful of stepping into the shower unattended. For far too long, my stubbornness resisted the beloved’s suggestion that some bath or shower aids would help. Personal hygiene was something reluctantly attended to. No matter how long the preceding period of bed-rest, by the time I’d showered and towelled I was so shattered that a further hours rest was called for before I could even consider the exertion required to clothe myself. Rather than being a refreshing experience, the effort involved ensured it was an extremely enervating one.

There are still many occasions when I seem to lack the necessary stamina to get into the shower-bath and, I’m ashamed to admit that showering is not a daily occurrence. Once in the shower though, the stable plastic seat has made a world of difference and, I revel in the warm soft needles of H2O as they caress and soothe my aching muscles.

These days, I can accomplish so much more than seemed possible even a few months ago and, for that I give thanks. I rejoice in the showers of blessing which make life so rich and wonderful. In everything give thanks.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Freshly Minted

'SPLASH INTO SPRING', a brand new poem by yours truly, can be found on the new multi-contributor blog GARBLED NOISE!

A brief posting can be found on "Words from an Hirsute Antiquity".

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Busy Doing Nothing

Busy doing nothing – at least that’s how I’ve felt the past few days. After a season of reasonably good days, it comes as something of a shock to return to a state of washed-out-ness, that just a few short months ago was my daily norm. Even those muscles I hadn’t realized existed seem to ache today, the ache varying in intensity from a weary numbness to a tightly wrapped band of spikes surrounding each sinew.

Busy doing nothing; at least the time has flown by, despite my routine of minimal activity. I lose count of the hours spent observing the piscine activity in our new aquarium. The three fantail goldfish, and five white cloud minnows, seem to utilize every inch of their 180 litre home. Callie, the calico fantail (please note the total lack of imagination in the naming), seems like a real adventurer now, compared to the nervously timid creature we saw both before and after her treatment for a swimbladder infection in her old residence. Of course she’s no longer confronted by the bullying antics of Jimmy, a common or garden variety of goldfish, currently swimming solo in one of the old tanks prior to his introduction to the inmates of the garden pond come April.

Busy doing nothing; I did, in the course of the week manage a couple of visits down to ‘Open Church’ (for Fairtrade coffee and a chat) and, took my beloved out for a meal at The Park on Thursday. Each of these outings would have been unimaginable just one year ago, so I’ve no cause for complaint. All in all, I feel like a most privileged person; to be loved by, and be in love with, ma belle amoureuse, to have food in my belly, a roof over my head, and a warm fire to sit by.

Take nothing and no-one for granted, just take each day as it comes and, in everything give thanks.

I rejoice and am glad in this day the Lord has made!