Movement

Yay! Really pleased with myself this morning because I walked to the centre of the village (about 1½ miles away) and back. Of course there were plenty of rest-stops both ways, but I made it! Twice as far as I’ve walked since the stroke ( I got the bus there once before and walked home). Bloody hard work though – I really need to concentrate on riding either my scooter or my bike, to do everything more quickly – I timed one way and it was about ¾hr.

There is a small cafe in the centre of the village, and this was the venue for a meeting with a few Age UK people. They are running a course soon about how we can get old folks online and making use of the net, and I have offered to help.

When I got home, I even had a call from the new Stroke Association contact, suggesting that we meet next week.

I love it when progress happens.

Fox Hunting

A lot of stuff lately about fox hunting. Apparently Theresa May said that she was personnally in favour, but I think it may have been highlighted by Labour supporters in an attempt to discredit her.

Now, let’s put to one side that if she says “personnally”, it probably means that it isn’t Tory party policy. And with these things, there are always two questions that you need to ask: (i) do I agree/disagree with something? and (ii) do I care enough to do anything about it? I’m sure that if I were contemplating power, there would be far more important things to worry about right now.

Also, we should also put to one side the fact that the ban is a popular law, apparently enjoying the backing a many voters.

But, of course, the very subject raises very emotive language on both sides. People in favour of the ban talk about “defenceless” animals. As a chicken-owner, foxes are far from defenceless – and we need to take anti-fox precautions every day to keep the chickens safe.

But equally, I heard a farmer the other day saying that since the ban, they’d had an increase in lambs taken, as the foxes get bolder. But does this mean that you need to dress up and get out on your horse with a pack of dogs? Is there not some way that foxes can be controlled, if control is necessary, without making the act of control a “sport”?

Storm in a teacup.

Stroke Visits

In mid-March, the girl whom I always dealt with at the Stroke Association phoned me to say she was being made redundant at the end of the month. I mean, I think thats very sad, but shit happens and we have to make the best of things in the face of it.

But since then….nothing. On the grounds that somebody would have told me if something was changing (wouldn’t they?), I’ve just carried on doing my ward visits, on my own, on alternate Wednesdays. The girl who left told me that they hadn’t decided who’d organise what yet, but that her area manager would likely take over liaison with volunteers. But no phone call or email from the new person to say hi. Nothing. So I went up there today and one of the nurses says, “I didn’t think you did this any more”. Well, I was only there a fortnight ago so I asked her what she meant. By the sounds of things, the other guy who visits – we went on alternate weeks so generally missed each other – has stopped doing visits. Reuben – the other guy – had a stroke several years ago, had been volunteering since a long time, and was obviously quite well known to people (although possibly more his purple garb, just like mine, than his face).

I feel a bit like I’m doing these hospital visits, but nobody at the Stroke Association has any clue that I’m doing them. One day, someone will approach me and say “what are you doing?” or “who the hell are you?” Or, possibly, “what are you doing wearing one of our shirts?”

I mean, this is only volunteering after all, but I’d have hoped for slightly bette organisation!

UK General Election (3)

Interesting to hear the Conservatives talking about capping fuel prices.

The news feeds have picked up on the fact that they have hijacked an idea from the Labour party of a couple of years ago. And the two parties claim to be diametrically opposed to each other…

But the thing I find interesting is that the Conservatives always advocated a free market economy, whereas they are now proposing an interventionist stance. To me at least, this is big news. Not that I’m complaining – I think that the market is far too short-term a thing on which to base your infrastructure policy (for example, whether your mines, farms or railways are viable).

By the by, I talk about my own energy arrangements here.

Responsibilities

In the recent local elections, I was asked by the Green Party if, as a supporter, I would be prepared to display a poster in my window. I said yes, but was a little uncomfortable when I saw its wording – “Vote Green”.

It gets straight to the point, I suppose. But I think that we should all make up our own minds. If our conclusions lead us in a certain direction, fine. I think the notion we see a poster in somebody’s window and vote on the strength of it is nonsense.

So I don’t really think that my views are consistent with putting a poster up in a window. I’d be happy to say which way I was voting and why, but the caveat is that we all need to decide for ourselves. That’s why I could never be a politician – I’m happy that I’ve got my thoughts sorted, but what somebody else thinks is for them to decide.

Same goes for religion, by the way. I’m happy to say what I think, but everybody needs to make up their own mind. I wouldn’t dream of trying to convince anybody else that I am right, that my truth is better than theirs. And that’s by-and-large the message I pass on to any evangelist who cares to knock.

Actually, I do think that religions usually offer people a good template to live a positive life, but I also think that there is nothing to stop someone living that same positive life anyway, without them having any religion. Whatever floats their boat. It’s the “live a positive life” bit which is important.

Psychiatrist / Psychologist

Ha ha – the girl on TV just now clearly didn’t know the difference, but rather than using one, being consistent, and hoping she’d got it right, she chopped and changed word throughout the article, making her ignorance quite obvious.

But I must admit – I don’t really know the difference either! Answers on a postcard, please (or in a comment)….

UK Local Elections

An interesting result, at least so far. Many UK councils have not even started counting yet, although now that I have my postal vote, I must admit to having cast my vote weeks ago. The Greens even had a candidate in our ward, so it isn’t much surprise that I voted for him, as I was one of his nominees!

Elsewhere, I am satisfied that the extremists of UKIP have lost ground. Now that the UK has had its referendum, I think the general public is struggling to see its relevance. Of course they argue otherwise…

But I do see some contradictions, too. The Conservative party has effectively hijacked many of UKIP’s policies, and yet rather than people being wary of their adopted extremism, they have strengthened their hand. And again, despite evidence that our infrastructure is deteriorating – high-profile evidence such as health and social care, but also visible, everyday evidence such as worsening road surfaces as councils can’t afford to make repairs, people still prefer the Conservatives to other options. Certainly, for a party that uses a lot of rhetoric about economics, the numbers don’t stack up.

I suppose it also says something about Labour’s credibility, although other parties had quite poor result too. It’s not reallly clear whether their results appear so bad because (a) they are exactly that, or (b) because they are such a large party, their losses appear magnified.

Plus, of course, the media doesn’t help, trying to rile the politicians (I’m sure that confrontation gets much higher ratings) but their interviews really are quite amateur and superficial.

So is it really any wonder, in the face of skepticism of both main parties, that I looked for a different option? At least the Greens can claim electoral success last night – although in their case the numbers are so small…. But perhaps evidence that more and more people are dissatisfied with the larger parties?

I must admit, finally, that these results feel somewhat strange to me. It is almost as if I’m looking on as an observer, that I’m not directly involved. I certainly can’t feel the passion these days like I used to. Interested, certainly, but passionate? No. But then my blood pressure is that much lower these days, too, and maybe there are other fish to fry!

Cuckoo Fair

Gearing up today for the bank holiday weekend. Mayday is always the time of our local annual village fete, the Cuckoo Fair. It is billed as this twee country affair, yet in reality is somewhat larger and less personal. Lots of traders who will spend the summer months going from fete to fete, lots of fast-food stalls which leave you wishing you hadn’t bothered…. When we first came to the village, it was an occasion we marked in our diaries, but this has waned over the years. even before the stroke, to the point where these days I actively avoid it. Our sleepy village of 5,000 inhabitants, swells to 25,000 for the day, they close the main road and parking is generally a nightmare!

I’m not sure if my wife feels the same as I do, but certainly this year has made other plans. She is away for the weekend in the lovely Lyme Regis, some craft course or other.

My daughter, however, still likes such occasions, and has said that she will visit for the weekend. I suppose it is also an opportunity for her to see  the mates she left behind when she went into care, although we don’t need particularly good memories to remember all the times, before she left, when she would complain that she had no friends. So as you can tell, there is still contact between me and my daughter, although in reality most of her contact is with my wife – I guess a mother’s love really is unconditional!

But on these occasions when she does visit, they are invariably non-confrontational, mainly because we are both quite reserved with each other, and avoid contentious subjects. But all a far cry from when she claimed to be fearful of being in the same house as me. My wife is only away Saturday and Sunday, so we may even all go out for a coffee on the bank holiday!

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