Tag Archives: mortality

The Bludgeonings of Chance

Three weeks ago we had freedom, full shops and nothing to fear, and we didn’t appreciate how lucky we were.

Three weeks ago it was cold and I was wearing a fleece and jumper in the house and sleeping under two duvets. Now I have discarded the fleece and jumper and a duvet. However, it looks like the cold may be making a return, so things may not have changed as much as I thought.

Three weeks ago I was always tired, as I never managed to get any decent sleep. These days I am remarkably well rested and and my life has taken on a natural rhythm, which sees me sitting up until the early hours then sleeping in until it is time to get up and eat brunch. It’s not a way of living that will survive the resumption of work, but it’s very relaxing.

For me, life in lockdown has not been too bad. There have been bits where I worried about where all the food had gone, and even a short period where I worried about dying. Then I realised that I wasn’t going to starve and that there was nothing I could do about dying. So I  forgot to worry.

I’m not really worrying about anything right now. I’m taking steps to ensure a good supply of food and I’m keeping myself isolated but that’s not the same as lying awake at night worrying about starvation and death.

I have accumulated a number of health problems that are mainly to do with over-indulgence, and if the coronavirus gets me it will be my own fault. To be honest, until I read the information on factors that might lead to my death I didn’t even think I was ill. I kept reading about elderly people with underlying health problems and thinking “Poor sods. I’m glad I’m not one of them.”

Then I actually read the list and realised I was one of them.

I am currently preparing for death by looking up famous last words and combing through poetry for suitable quotes.

It doesn’t do to be morbid. On the other hand it’s just as well to have your famous last words ready, because if they aren’t good enough they may never become famous.

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Burntstump Country Park, Notts

The photographs are, again, from a time when I was allowed to drive to places and walk round.

Off to the Dentist

The day has come, and I’m in the space only known to people with important appointments. It’s that gap of about an hour where it’s too soon to set off and there doesn’t seem enough time to do anything useful.

It’s the last day for second class post in the UK, and I have cards to send, but I can’t concentrate. There isn’t even time for a decent post.

I’ve been told to eat before going, which isn’t normally a problem, but today I don’t feel hungry.

Today I have a painful appointment with the dentist and come face to face with mortlity.

The wisdom tooth I had taken out twenty years ago was a routine thing, lots of people have that done.

The one I lost last year had been giving trouble for over 30 years and finally disintegrated under pressure from a Mint Imperial, so it worried me, but not too much.

Today I am losing an adult tooth to decay. Memories of my parents telling me to brush properly are coming back to haunt me. It’s neglect and old age and death rolled into one and I can feel one of my feet sinking into the grave.

I’m half expecting the dentist to wear a shroud and hack the tooth out with his scythe.

Ah well, time to go now…

More Random Titles and Happiness

I took another look at the random generator and came up with: Is there anything you regret?

The answer, of course, is “yes”.

I think I’ll leave it at that as going further into an answer is like opening a big bag of misery and reaching in right up to the elbows. Yes, I regret a lack of confidence, parenting skills, education and skill at saving. But all the wallowing in the world won’t change it, so on to the next question.

Those of you who are able to put up with bad language might like to read a bit of Larkin on the subject.

Write about how you drive (or why you don’t).

I drive less well than I did when I was in my 40s. However, I make up for that loss of quality with the increasing volume of advice I dispense to other drivers.

Write about an experience that made you very happy.

Starting on WordPress made me happy. It was a bit of a trial at first, and still can be on some days, but overall, I’m happy when I’m typing and thinking of all the interesting people out there.

I was also happy when I found the random subject generator. I was having a tough morning thinking and it has eased the burden of thinking quite nicely.

Who from your past do you wish were still around?

Actually, shelve what I just said about it making me happy. You can’t live your life looking back and thinking about what might have been.

There are dozens of family members that I’d like to have around, but I’d want them back in healthy and happy times, not how they were when they died. And that sounds a bit like the plot for a horrible sci-fi plot.

I’m not sure whether to go for another random title or not.

Write about your feet.

Yes, time to call it a day. My feet have done sterling service over the years but this is one subject too many…

 

Paths of Glory

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,
         And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour.
         The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
I’ve just finished reading The Final Whistle: The Great War in Fifteen Players . I bought it last week when I was supposedly getting rid of some books at the Oxfam shop. It is, as you may be able to guess from the title, a book about the Great War and rugby. I’m not one of those people who can quote details of Divisions and battles and all that stuff but I do have an interest in the subject, and I also like rugby.
As a result, I am now motivated to finish a post I began after visiting Southwell Minster. For me, the most interesting part of the visit is the original wooden grave marker of Major J P Becher. It’s on the wall of the graveyard at the east end of the Minster, and I always worry that one day it will disintegrate.
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Original wooden grave marker at Southwell Minster

In this case, Major Becher is commemorated in many other places, as are his brothers-in-law. The brothers-in-law were both killed on the day that Becher suffered his fatal wounds. He lived on for another ten weeks before finally dying, having been too badly injured to be sent home from France.
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Grave marker – Major J P Becher

His son, as seen from the small cross in the picture, died in the Second World War.
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Father and son

Families were allowed to have the original wooden grave markers returned to them when the permanent stone markers were erected, though I’m not sure how many actually applied for them. I imagine that although it represented closure for many families, it was far too painful for others.
One of my great grandmothers, having lost a son and a son-in-law and seen two other sons seriously injured, refused to even to discuss the war. Another one, having been widowed and left with three young daughters, died in the TB hospital in Lancaster five years after the death of her husband.
It was International Women’s Day yesterday, so it might be appropriate to spend a moment thinking about the women in this story, who also suffered in the war, though nobody erected a memorial to them.
The above link to my great grandmother’s headstone was a complete surprise to me. I was going to add CWGC details but browsed a few others and found that. Though I’ve been in that church and graveyard several times in the past I never thought to look for family gravestones at the time and it was on the list of “things to do”.
That’s the wonder of the web, and a whole new post.