Saturday, 4 September 2010

Life and love

A friend of ours, having read the blog, said to me today, "You seem to be enjoying life." And it's true. And I'm grateful. It's frustrating not being able to do just what I want when I want. But life isn't dull. For example, last Monday (Bank Holiday) we had a church barbecue at the local primary school and, although I couldn't join in, I could be proud of Jane astounding others with her prowess with the rounders (baseball) bat.

On Wednesday it was a rather late visit to Cornerstone. As we waited to order our cappuchino, a voice spoke over my shoulder, "Hello, Michael! Remember me?" It was none other than Lynn whom we'd met for the first time at New Wine with James, her husband, and Beth, her disabled daughter, who'd taught me a lesson about God's love. There is something about friendships within 'the household of faith', and especially, I suppose, with those also facing adversity. Having begun with meeting them, it seemed to round off the holiday period beautifully.

While we were there we picked up a copy of the Oxford Diocesan newspaper, The Door, in which next to a report to the launch of I Choose Everything, there was a review of the Creation Theatre's production of Romeo and Juliet ( The weather being set fair and warm, "Why don't we go and see it?" I said to Jane. There was room on Thursday evening; so we booked tickets. And weren't disappointed. First job on Thursday, however, was to begin the hunt for a replacement Motability car. Being a francophile, I rather fancied a Citroën and so we went to the dealer in Abingdon. The thing about choosing a car is that there a lot of small factors which it's crucial to get as right as possible, eg room for the wheelchair flat in the boot, a low lip to the boot, a grab-rail above the passenger door, a headrest you can lean on, leg room, arm rests on both sides. Sadly both the C4 and C3 Picassos failed, and anyway we didn't like the ambience of the place. On the way home we pulled in at Grove's local Vauxhall dealer which was an entirely better experience. Surprisingly the new Meriva met nearly all the criteria and looks quite good. There was one drawback, which was the lack of grab-handle on the passenger door - which our C-Max has. Instead, like most new cars, it simply has a slot in the arm rest in the door - which is ok while my fingers retain their strength, but who knows how long that will be...? Perhaps we'll look at a replacement C-Max, and compare and contrast.
Meriva front seats
It wasn't long before we were back on the road to Oxford, heading for the Saïd Business School, where there's an amphitheatre on the roof. There was a huge group of language students learning the English art of queuing, but we picked up our tickets and went to the courtyard - where, as often we found people incredibly helpful, making sure we had good views and reached where we needed to be when the play moved on the roof! Indeed the front-of-house manager, who we discovered hailed from near where I taught in Cowley, went beyond the call of duty in making us comfortable with blankets and cushions as darkness fell and the temperature dropped.

The production was remarkable: very intelligent interpretation, well communicated Shakespearean verse, lively, emotional - a tour de force by the cast of nine actors. It was an excellent evening for it, so that the love scene where the newly married Romeo and Juliet part took place in the half light and by the time Romeo received the news of her supposed death the stars were visible overhead ("Is it even so? Then I defy you stars!") I'd recommend you go and see it, only tonight is the last night. Hard luck!

Then yesterday it was another meeting of the local MND Association branch. I have to say that aromatherapy didn't set me alight, but, as Jane observed, she didn't think it would. Well, I think a bit too much store can be set on it. But as always the main thing was meeting people and getting to know them better. There's a camaraderie in welcoming new people. Friendship matters. A large shared concern we all have is connected with the benefits we receive at the moment. With government cutbacks affecting local authorities, one member is already facing having her care-package removed. It seems madness that someone living on her own and suffering from a degenerative disease should suddenly face having to fight for funding for her care. She needs a lot of help. With Primary Care Trusts being abolished and funding being devolved (and presumably reduced) to GPs we suddenly find ourselves in utterly uncharted waters - and most MND patients don't have the luxury of time on their side. On average it's 17 months from diagnosis to death. By the way, it all makes a national MND strategy the more urgent.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad the aromatherapy didn't 'set you alight' - those candles can be dangerous!