Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A new year

Before the media frenzy breaks tomorrow with the launch of the "eagerly awaited" - listen out for that phrase - it could be part of their press hype - report of the phoney Falconer "commission" (it's already been launched - or "advertorialised" as Peter Saunders pungently put it - in The Telegraph and The Observer), time for me to reflect in the lull.

With Jane's broken collar-bone I've entered the realm of employing a carer. Ralph comes in to give me my stretches, get me up, dressed and down to breakfast, leaving after I've been to the toilet. My usual chair's been replaced (again) with the riser-recliner so that Jane doesn't have to haul me on to my rollator. So most of the day is spent here, where I'm sitting, with necessary toilet breaks, of course, (sorry to mention it again), until Rachel gets me ready for and in to bed. It's the first time someone who's not family has had to deal with me like this, and I wondered whether I'd find it embarrassing or undignified as some people seem to. Or would I feel I was being "man-handled" like Tony Nicklinson? I have to report I felt none of those.

It seems to me it's largely a matter of attitude rather than reality. I'm not minimising the experience of dependency and diminishing powers. However we are simply mistaken to call it undignified. Actually, as Archbishop Cranmer says, there's Dignity in Living (as opposed to the mantra Dignity in dying).

On a lighter note, yesterday my three brothers and their wives came to lunch. We try to meet up once a year after Christmas - saves on postage for the presents! Because Jane couldn't drive, we changed our original West Country venue to here, with the others doing all the catering. It worked well - and we're still left with remnants of the meal.

My brothers and I still enjoy giving each other presents: I gave them a jolly little monkey that waddles along playing a pair of cymbals. (I can't work out whether he's like me or Lord Falconer. Like me he's wobbly on his feet; like the peer he looks good but does a lot of banging to little effect.)

One of them gave me a proxy goat, another a clock which has a different bird singing every hour (now banished to the conservatory), and the third "The Perfect Man", which has the following verses attached:

"They say good men are hard to find.
I know this to be true
But I hunted far and wide
And found one just for you!

He is no good at DIY,
He cannot fix the car;
But his socks are never smelly
And he doesn't stray too far.

He always listens patiently,
He won't pester you in bed
And if you get fed up with him -
You just bite off his head!"

It was, in case you'd not guessed, a packet of five of these cheery fellows. . . .

I wish you a cheerful new year.

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