Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Casual Listening

As my beloved chauffered me home, from making a bulk purchase of wild bird food, Radio 4 twittered away as an accompaniment to our journey. One item was about taboos surrounding organ donation, the following item concerned the ubiquity of flip-flops from some kind of anthropological / sociological perspective.

From the latter item, I gathered that flip-flops go back to the beginning of time. A wonderful image of Dinosaurs wearing flip-flops immediately sprang to mind, even though (judging by context) the speaker obviously considered that time only began when the pyramids were constructed!

From the chatter about organ donation I gathered that almost all of our prejudices and taboos can be traced back to a certain Anne Sesstry. At least that should remove a lot of the burden from Eve!

28 October 2009


a freshly minted poem, GARDENING IN AUTUMN, can be found on 'Mal's Factory'.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Shudder Of Shyness

I don't know quite how to explain this, or even try to understand but, is it some kind of weird prejudice or simply my innate shyness ( of which many of my acquaintances are completely unaware)?

There's a local cafe which I love to visit, both on my own and with my beloved. Beverages and food served are of an excellent standard and, the environment is spaciously friendly so, what's the problem? The cafe has started advertising, via handbills, to the effect, "Over 60 but young at heart, join us for a chat etc;". For an extremely reasonable inclusive price, you're supplied with tea or coffee, home made scones, jam and cream, on a Monday from 2.30p.m. I love the idea and so, I decided to amble along there this afternoon. Looking through the window I spotted a cosy gathering of this particular client group but, something inside me said, "they're all oldies, no connection with you". Next, I took a little walk around the block and, on my return, glanced through the window again, paused for a few moments before heading off home.

I don't think it's ageism, after all I'm one of the golden oldies myself and, I certainly have friends that are most probably older than any of those in attendance and, a number of others considerably younger. Had any one of these people been on their own, I'd quite happily have sat down and had a chat with them but, this looked like an organized group and I'm not instictively a joiner. That may sound strange for someone who has been a member of all kinds of campaigning groups,left-wing political parties and sectlets, jazz clubs, literary groups and church house groups, in some cases to the extent of running them myself!

Perhaps it's some kind of timidity; my body quite simply resisted the urge to enter. I don't like barging in to what superficially looked like a closed circle; this could just be a case where my camoflauged shyness overcame a more gregarious veneer.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Time Change


Turning back the clock
I think of Canute -

in spite of expectations.
One hour gained
at the beginning of the day

come evening
taken away.

Malcolm Evison
25 October 2009

Secular Prejudice or Spiritual Enlightenment

After reading an excellent post touching on the matter of disaffected Anglicans, 'Anglicans and Orthodoxy', on Steve Hayes Khanya blog, I couldn't help being saddened by the thought that the primary reason for so many sub-denominations and sects, within the church, is more to do with secular prejudice than spiritual enlightenment!


on a totally different topic: my latest blog posting, 'Decline Of A Pub Bistro', appeared yesterday on 'Mal's Murmurings'.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thinking Aloud

How I ever found time to go out to work is a mystery to me.

Time simply races by and, my best laid plans frequently fail to come to fruition owing to an insufficiency of waking hours in the day. No doubt some of this is due to my lack of stamina, not so drastically reduced as it was a few years ago but, stamina levels are nowhere near those I took for granted before succumbing to M.E. in 2003. Mind you, the M.E. put paid to my ability to work and, even prevented me from venturing more than a few yards from my own front door for a considerable period of time.

Reaching retirement age, and eligibility for the State Pension, seemed to produce an energy surge for me, elated by the experience of being free from the guilt that all incapacitated people are forced to feel when they have to resort to “benefits”. Politicians and media all paint a picture of tens of thousands of people in receipt of benefits being lazy scroungers but, the reality I experienced was one of enforced degradation in the way one was treated by the DWP and its medical agents; hard work at a time when ones physical and emotional stamina reserves are at an all time low, to say nothing of the excruciating pain and general dis-orientation.

Sorry I’m getting sidetracked, in any case that stamina surge, referred to at the beginning of the previous paragraph, didn’t last for long. Perhaps the initial mystery (opening sentence refers) only refers to people in less than prime health. I am extremely fortunate in that, shortly before becoming incapacitated, I’d had my arm twisted to go on t’internet. Being on-line proved a lifeline; unable to participate in the socializing, which had up that point been a mainstay of my being, I discovered the value of cyber friends who proved more loyal than some of the real world ones once my illness struck. Eventually, I found myself totally absorbed in this alternative world, barely a day could go by, physical and emotional stamina permitting, without at least a couple of hours “surfing”. Another advantage of surfing was the availability of bite size gobbets of information, on sundry topics, which fell within my concentration span; formerly an avid reader, the illness had taken away my ability to concentrate for any sustained period – measured in minutes rather than the previous hours.

Having once been an enthusiastic amateur photographer, the advent of affordable digital photography was another lifeline; no more worries about the cost of films and processing, I could now snap away to my hearts content both in the house and the garden and, swiftly edit the results. Hard copy prints were no longer of any great importance, the creativity was all.

Throughout this period, as stamina reserves fluctuatingly improved, I was able to allow the artistic muse back into my life and, on occasion was able to wrestle a new poem or painting into life. In more recent times, an increasing amount of time has been spent in the garden, generally pottering about and developing the wildlife garden end.

Painting, writing, photography, gardening, and even a bit of cooking, each makes its own demands on one’s time. I really don’t know how I ever found time to fit in any formal employment.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

lack of progress report

Frightening how the shatteredness persists, it's rather like I've reverted to a stage I thought I'd overcome. Room-spinning, legs collapsing, griping sense of nausea and feeling as if my bones are bruised from the inside. Hope it's just a passing trend!

All I can say is, thank God for the garden; just spent a pleasant hour alternatingly sitting on bench at back of house, seats beside the pond and the arbour seat, shuffles between them ably supported by a stout walking stick!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Of gardens, vaccinations and shatteredness

The big question is, do I have the stamina to complete this blog? It's not as if there's any necessity or urgency about it but, the effort may just manage to keep me awake. All in all, it's been rather a busy week in the garden and, for much of the effort the results aren't going to be visible until next spring; actually, I'm just hoping that the results will be visible when that season arrives! The hope is that there'll be wonderful displays of scilla siberica, English bluebells, double daffodils and even, a little later on, three varieties of honeysuckle.

Of the bulbs and plants that arrived this week, 20 bluebells, 38 scilla, 24 double daffodils, and three honeysuckle plants are now in situ, some in the wildlife garden area, others in the borders. A large container, which I'd thought would take some of the remainder, collapsed in the process of clearing out it's old vegetative inhabitants, so an alternative will have to be found. On top of that lot, I'm still awaiting delivery of some fragrant hostas and a few echinaceas, so I'll have to restore stamina levels somehow. Mind you, I should acknowledge the endeavours of my beloved who did an excellent job of clearing out a wildly invasive patch of mint, before I got around to transferring some of the compost bins compost to that area of the garden.

This morning, Helen's invaluable chauffering service was called for to ferry me to the doctors for my flu and pneumonia jabs; whilst at the surgery, I declined the opportunity to be allocated a swine-flu jab as I have reservations regarding both ethics and its efficacy. Come to that, I have more than a few misgivings about the whole pharmaceutical industry despite having benefitted from some of their products.

I'm afraid that cooking is out of the question this evening so, it will be one of those rare occasions when Sunday lunch is actually prepared on the day. I'm a little too shattered to trust myself with a kitchen knife at the moment!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Video : Preening Time

sparrows in shrubbery immediately behind the arbour seat - which serves as an improvised hide.

Monday, October 05, 2009

just messin' abaht! : owd John Bradleum

The devil finds work ... etc. ... etc. .. so, I was just messin' abaht and out popped this song from Breathless Mal ... it's a traditional song that I performed, in a school concert at Topcliffe CofE school, back in 1954. This time, I couldn't remember all the right words but, I spontaneously overcame that little difficulty!

blackbird at ground feeder

captured this brief footage, whilst stood at the kitchen door, this morning.

Friday, October 02, 2009