Share Your World: 29 April 2019

If you could interview anyone from your life, living or dead, who would it be and why?

My paternal great-grandmother, who I never met – she lived in Canada, and died before I was born. In fact, I didn’t even know she WAS my great grandmother until I was grown up – I thought she was actually my great aunt, my grandmother’s older sister, but it turns out she had my grandmother out of wedlock at a young age, and then emigrated to Canada leaving my grandmother to be brought up by her biological grandparents, who never really lived down the shame of it all and treated my grandmother atrociously (as if it was her fault for being born illegitimate). Old sins may have long shadows, but they make for the most intriguing characters… 🙂

As a child, did you have a nickname? Did you carry that with you throughout life or was it only in childhood that you used it?

My parents decided to call me Ruth as it was a nice short name and no-one would be able to shorten it. So of course I went through childhood being called Ruthie. My father-in-law, mother-in-law and brother-in-law still call me Ruthie, as does my mum and sometimes my husband every now and again, but most people know me as Ruth. Funnily enough some times I get called Ruthie informally at work, and as I answer to it as readily as Ruth, it gets used interchangably, and to be honest I really don’t mind either…

Give us three words that describe you?

Mother, grandmother, introvert. I’ve been a mum since I was 18, a grandmother since I was 38, and an introvert my whole life. Although those three words have popped up first in my head, I can immediately think of a whole lot more I could add to that rather perfunctory description. I suppose I’m an accumulation of lots of descriptive words, not really one thing more than anything else, but am an oddly eclectic mix of everything I’ve ever been and ever will be, a kind of Frankenstein’s monster of hopes and dreams and hurts and healings and mass confusion… I keep thinking it will get easier when I grow up, but here I am at 55, still waiting for clarity…

Sneaking into a second movie at the theatre (if you go to a movie house) – is that wrong or just harmless fun?

When I was a kid, there was one movie screen with a huge red curtain and red velvet seats and fancy gilded decor all around and you paid once for entry and watched whatever series of stuff was on, until you got fed up and left. Now there are many-screened multiplexes showing only one movie on each screen and the cost is so extortionate I never bother to go any more. I’d rather watch stuff on TV in the comfort of my own home…

If you had a time machine, would you go back to the past of forward into the future? Why?

Well, apart from going back in time to interview my long departed great grandmother (see Q1), I firmly believe time travel should remain in the world of fiction. I mean, I remember watching HG Wells ‘The Time Machine’ as a kid (on TV, not at the movies – see Q4) and freaking out at the idea of the Eloi and the Morlocks being all we had to look forward to in the future. OK, so maybe Michael J Fox as Marty McFly had a better time in the ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy but still… I learned that messing with the past is still playing with fire. And having read (and thoroughly enjoyed) ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ where the poor guy time-hops back and fore with no warning I’m just glad that time for me moves one way only and at one steady pace, thank you very much…

Share Your World


Dottled and Thrawn…

Dottled and Thrawn...

A million loving moments fill my head
Remembering my dad from childhood years,
But facing new realities instead
His failing fragile mind prompts blurring tears.

As vascular dementia takes its toll
Forgetful blank confusion plays cruel tricks,
Bewildered absence taunts his stubborn soul
And thrawn and dottled's not an easy mix!

Each tiny blockage works to undermine 
The crumbling bedrock of his memory,
His world's diminished, harder to define
Frustrating future beckons senselessly...

And once the day has come when no "Dad"s left
We'll simply go on loving, quite bereft...

PS For the non-Scots speakers of you out there, “Dottled” means in a state of dotage and “Thrawn” means stubborn… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Critical

Sometimes seriously stressful stuff builds up in peoples’ lives, simmering away ignored in the background and slowly getting more and more urgent to be dealt with until a critical mass is reached and suddenly BAM – one little tip too far and the whole thing just goes into a freefall meltdown… That’s kind of what happened to my parents lives recently.

My 82-year-old Dad has had several strokes and also has Vascular Dementia. My 76-year-old mum is his sole carer, and both had previously refused to discuss any realistic emergency backup plans. So when inevitably she took ill and was rushed into hospital by ambulance with suspected pneumonia at the end of last month my dad was unceremoniously whisked off to a local nursing home for emergency crisis care.

Dad absolutely hated it, not really understanding why he was there and apparently thinking he had been abandoned to his fate forever. Not that anything was necessarily wrong with the place, but it wasn’t his home or his family and he simply didn’t want to be there away from the people and places he knew. So I took some time off work at short notice, booked myself an overnight train to Scotland, and went up to stay in my parents’ home for the duration so both could come home to be looked after…

And three weeks on, now that Mum is much better here I am back home in London again. I’ve basically spent all that time with my brother and I effectively being parents to our ageing parents, sorting out all the major formal stuff with the Social Work team to be sure we have a suitable care package in place and all appropriate health and safety concerns relating to the house are dealt with, and serious discussions are begun about any long-term plans…

The thing is, both Mum and Dad want to stay put where they are in the large rambling rural house we grew up in, perfect for a fit young growing family but a potential death-trap for an infirm elderly couple, in denial and determined to maintain their independence at all costs. Because unfortunately what they really need in order to facilitate that continuing independence into the future is a smaller, infinitely more accessible home in a far less rural location.

Dad no longer drives at all, Mum is beginning to struggle with driving herself, and without their car they would effectively find themselves housebound, miles away from the help and support they need. But after 45 years in situ they are both too set in their ways, too stuck in the past, and however much we try to find short-term solutions for the problem of their location for the time being, one way or another it seems moving will eventually be inevitable.

So all my bother and I can do right now is remain ever-vigilant on high alert, potentially prepared for the next critical emergency to arise, frustrated at the futility of all our well-intentioned efforts ultimately to make life easier for them in the long-term, and simply continue to pick up the shattered pieces for them the next time their precarious coping strategy disintegrates into dust again…

Stream of Consciouness Saturday: Critical

Going AWOL Again!

Just to let you all know I’m going to be away again for a few weeks visiting my family in Scotland, to look after my dad this time. Mum has been taken into hospital with suspected pneumonia, and as she is Dad’s carer he’s having to have respite care in a nursing home for a day or two until I can go up to take over until she’s back home and fully recovered. As usual I’ll be back in due course… you can’t get rid of me that easily! 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Sustain

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday from Linda asks us to ask someone else for a prompt word – so I asked my husband and he said ‘sustain’… um… ok then…

So, what sustains me in life? Well, on a basic physical level, having a job to earn money to keep a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food in my belly certainly sustains me. And on an emotional level, spending time in nature, photography, reading, and music sustain me – and blogging, of course. But most of all, love sustains me – family and friends, the people around me who make my life complete ❤

When Life Intervenes

I’m quite good (or is it bad?) at starting things, but not always finishing them. It’s not deliberate, but sometimes it feels to me like life simply intervenes and gets in the way of my plans. So I don’t necessarily feel that I give up on them entirely, more that something else comes up that takes precedence at that time, and then I don’t always remember to go back to them straight away…

I mean, I decided a couple of months ago that for the six weeks before my 55th birthday I would try to do some yoga every day, to build a solid habit I could continue wherever I go. And I was doing not too badly with that plan until things started going wrong with my daughter’s third pregnancy and all hell broke loose in my head and my heart, leaving the yoga thing trailing behind in the dust.

It was the same with biting my nails – I decided in September to stop biting my nails – and indeed I had nicely filed nails right up until my stress levels went through the roof due to a type-1 diabetic pregnant daughter having uncontrollable hypos (dangerous to the extent of being potentially life-threatening) and an unborn granddaughter showing seriously concerning decelerations in her heart-rate (ditto).

But thankfully all of that stress is over now, baby is here and daughter’s blood glucose is reasonably stabilised again, and so it’s time to go back to trying the daily yoga practice and giving up biting my nails again – well, until life intervenes again, of course! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Intervene