Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Life is life

On Sunday I went out for the first time for four weeks, what with my festive infection and the subsequent 'deep freeze'.  It was almost a springlike day, and so like a hedgehog I came out of hibernation and, with Jane, headed for church (the building) in my electric wheelchair.  Fresh air tastes good.  And so does bread and wine in communion.  It was great returning to a more normal routine.

Stephen who called in during the afternoon mentioned an article by Charlotte Raven in the weekend Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/jan/16/charlotte-raven-should-i-take-my-own-life).  Its headline is 'Should I take my own life?'  After her father died of Huntington's Disease (a peculiarly nasty terminal disease) and she had had her first baby, she had a test which confirmed that she would get it too.  She decided she'd choose to commit suicide (for example at Dingitas), assembling an array of arguments to support her decision.  Then she went to a part of Venezuala where there is a high concentration of HD, and, although she was faced with the stark reality of what she would have to face if the disease ran its full course, she experienced a quite unexpected reversal of perception.  'I had never thought of suicide as violent or vile, and no wonder – our preferred methods are designed to obscure this painful reality. Suicide consumers have been sold a chimera of a " peaceful" end.'  She goes to a clinic for Huntington's sufferers and ends up in the arms of a nurse.  The article concludes: 'Registering the discomfort of existence, I felt a great wave of self-pity, the first since my diagnosis. I felt worthy of being cherished and knew I'd do whatever it took to survive....  Back home, I told my husband he was right.  The case for carrying on can't be argued.  Suicide is rhetoric.  Life is life.'  It's a long article, but every word is worth reading.

To add to my joy, yesterday dawned sunny and even warmer.  So we celebrated and went to collect a late mystery Christmas present from Rachel.  She'd told us it was awaiting collection at Aston Pottery (which is south of Witney).  There's also a rather nice gift shop and café there, and we decided the drive there would be a pleasant start to the week.  And so it proved.  There was some flooding around the Thames.  In fact The Maybush was almost on an island.  Some trees even had a greenish sheen, an early sign of spring.


So we picked up our present, and then went to have a coffee and brownie.  Very nice.  There were still traces of snow left where it had slid off the roof and where, the owner told us, the children of the village had built a large snowman.  Refreshed, we wandered back through the gift shop - which is quality, and incredibly tastefully set out.  I fell in love with a couple of cushions which I coveted for the sofa we've just ordered....  However they were rather pricey, and good sense prevailed at last with a bit of encouragement from Jane!  Here's some of our Aston pottery ware, including the new butter dish.

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