Midsummer evening

Midsummer evening

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Good stuff...

Some beautiful orchids littering the verge on my drive to work. They showed up in that site a few years ago and the Peak Park's new policy of not trimming the verges as heavily has really paid off as now there is an absolute mass of them. Stunning.


A rather forlorn little black lop-eared rabbit out in the middle of nowhere. Hopefully it is doing alright but it has obviously been domesticated at some stage as was relatively tame compared to your common or garden brown bunnies.

I liked these sheep - they looked as though they were waiting for a bus, somewhat impatiently too!

So, what have we been up to while I've been so dilatory in posting? It's been good actually, we've been busy doing fun stuff. A couple of weekends ago we went to see Bruce Springsteen at Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park. It was the day after his headlining at Glastonbury and much more civilised for me and D (muddy festivals not really our thing any more). He gave a brilliant show as ever although I'm not the major Bruce fan, that's more Diarmuid. He has so much energy for a 59 year old man! It's very impressive and very inspiring.

It made me think about how I should commit to a healthy lifesyle even further than I have done if it helps one reap those sorts of rewards. The contrast between Bruce ripping through his 3 hour high energy set and other 59/60 years olds (or even 20 year olds!) of my acquaintance was dramatic. I know which one I'd rather be.

The other bands in the line-up were pretty good too although we weren't over impressed by the Dave Matthews Band - too "chippy" and a bit snide I thought and their songs were very samey. I loved the Gaslight Anthem set though - so fresh and vital.

So, that was one weekend down in London. We stayed with my pal Natalie for one night and in a smart hotel on the night after the concert. On the Saturday night, she and D got horrendously drunk while I was much more abstemious although I did join them in a few glasses of red wine. That was hilarious: me walking between the 2 of them with my arms rounds their waists, steering 2 lurching, very "happy" people home down Old Brompton Road in the middle of the night while they each told me how much they "really, really loved me" and how I was their "besht friend ever..."!

Then last weekend we were over in Lincolnshire staying at my parents for the Waddington Air Show. It was a lovely day out with my cousin Jo and her husband Dennis. They're a fair bit older than us so I never really knew her as a youngster. It's only been in the last few years since my uncle died that Jo and Dennis have been bringing my aunt up to Mum and Dad's to keep in touch with my mum (her sister) and we've got to know the 2 of them really well. We had such a good day - a great spot near the runway, perfect weather, hot sunshine, but a cooling breeze and a little cloud cover, constant entertainment and a lovely picnic with much beer flowing (although not not much of it in my direction).
I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to capture the planes and the acrobatic displays on camera so took far too many pictures. Some of them have turned out really well though so now I have the chore of organising them etc. I think I'll enlarge one of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and have it framed as a gift for Dad as they lived through WW2 and remember the bombing raids over Grimsby and all the Lancasters, Hurricanes and Spitfires. And remember it all sort of fondly which seems bizarre when you think about it!

So, all in all that was a really good weekend. I appreciate now, more than ever, time spent with my parents; I get on well with my dad and know that he needs the company and variety as my mother's mind is slowly but surely disappearing from us. She has good spells though and last weekend was one of those. Maybe spending time with her sister helped as the 2 of them spent a lot of time reminiscing and old memories are always the freshest. I suppose the old wartime planes buzzing overhead might have helped as well! It's sad to think that my mum isn't the same woman she once was but at least she's not in distress although that may still come. We can still have a laugh...

At one stage, on Sunday morning, Dennis and I were in the conservatory just off the kitchen reading the papers in peace. Don't know where everyone else was, possibly picking fruit in the garden or something but mum and her sister were in the kitchen chatting. They are both going a bit gaga so you can imagine how sucessful they were at remembering their respective ages?! They had one solid fact between them which is that Mum is 5 years younger than Betty. Apart from that it was chaos. They couldn't work out the year either of them were born and then, when they did and I shouted through that they were right, they didn' know what year it is now. So I supplied them with 2009 but then they had to subtract 1926 from 2009! For 2 former teachers, their maths skills were very poor! "89!" roared my auntie Betty, "I'm never 89!". No, you're 83.... "Well that makes me 76" said Mum, "No, 78" I corrected. It took ages but they were dogged in getting to the end. You've got to laugh and Dennis and I were nearly crying it was so comical. I managed to get a laugh out of dad telling the story in the pub later too. It might sound a bit heartless but I promise it isn't, just realistic.

Mum's issues are another reason for trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Her weight problem may well have contributed to her dementia. There is a link acknowledged by the scientific community between obesity and memory loss. Not only that, I've observed it anecdotally. She used to be very active and adventurous. Then, a few years ago, when her weight started to take its toll in the form of tirednes and injuries, she gradually withdrew from all the physical and social activities she had previously enjoyed - gardening, flower arranging, a computer course, visits into Loncoln shopping on the bus with her pals from the village, church and charity stuff in the village. It's as though she decided that she was old and that was it (aged 75-6!). I'm sure that, had she not had the weight issues, she would have carried on for much longer and I'm equally sure that, if she had carried on being active, the memory loss would have been staved off for another few years. Her sister who is 5 years older, is only now going through the same thing. When her husband died she suddenly felt much more vulnerable, decided she can't walk anywhere and also stopped going out as much and now her memory is declining rapidly.

I know it's probably not as simple as all that but the link looks obvious to me in my family and I'm determined to work at being active and questing well into old age.

1 comment:

Peridot said...

Can't you home that bunny? I'll have him otherwise - my mum's in the market for a rabbit. Hate to think of him struggling to adapt to a wild life - and standing out rather to all predators...

Physical activity certainly looks key in staving off old age from what you say but also just getting involved in things and having an active social life too. My grandmother died a few years ago at the age of 87 and she was as sharp and aware and youthful as anything - she did yoga (still!), had coffee mornings, went to art classes etc When she was in her late 70s she was still doing panto for "the old folks"! I hope I'm like that.

love
Peridot x