Indefatigable is definitely not me. Even at my best, in my early childhood and in my youth, as an asthmatic I could only do so much and then I would tire and have to rest awhile until my breathless wheezing would subside.

And more recently I really struggled for such a long time with my breathing and extreme fatigue after I caught Covid, pre-vaccination. It’s now been almost two and a half years since I had it, and although I am without doubt a million times better than I was back then I’m still not quite back up to my pre-Covid energy levels, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that there’s going to be no magic spell to wave it all away, this is just what is and Covid has left its invisible mark on me, like it or not.

But I still do what I can, when I can – if I feel like it, of course. Although nowadays it is usually reduced mobility and arthritic hip pain that slows me down before my restricted breathing or extreme fatigue kicks in, so its not nearly so noticeable anyway. I necessarily take my time and I always pace myself, so without question I’m even more of a plodding tortoise than an energetic hare than I was before! 🙂

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Indefatigable

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Subside



As of yesterday, my parents’ home – my childhood home – is now defunct.

Mum and Dad moved in to that house 50 years ago this summer, the year I turned 10. It’s changed a lot since then – replacement kitchen, additional downstairs shower room, multiple changes of use of internal and external spaces over time – but still, it’s a bit odd to think of neither parent living there any more.

Dad (who turns 87 on Thursday) now lives in a residential care home – he’s had five strokes and has vascular dementia, so has needed proper nursing care for the last 18 months. Thankfully he is somewhere where he is safe and cared for, he seems happy enough and appears to be settled where he is.

Mum (who will be 81 next Sunday) continued to live alone in the rural home she shared with Dad for all those years, but she too has recently been diagnosed with early stage dementia, so has finally agreed to move from there in to a very pleasant Sheltered Housing development in the nearest town, much closer to Dad.

Her new rented home is much smaller – just one bedroom, a bathroom, and an open plan living room and kitchen – so she’s taken with her what she needs and wants (and whatever will fit) and the rest of the old house and contents have to be cleared and sorted and made ready for putting on the market.

So Mum moved in to her new, self-styled ‘old-lady’ place yesterday, and thankfully slept well on her first night in her new bed. Tomorrow my husband and I will be going out to the old house to look for some necessary documentation I need to complete on Mum’s behalf. And then we can start planning ahead for whatever comes next.

It does feel a bit strange to think of the house not being in our family any more, but neither my brother nor I have ever had any wish to live there as adults ourselves. In our late fifties we each have our own lives, our own families, our own homes. That was Mum and dad’s dream home, not ours. And anyway, it has to be sold to pay for Dad’s ongoing care, and Mum’s new life alone.

I have a lifetime of memories wrapped up in that house, some great, some not so good. But it was our family home. It was where I grew up. Realistically it should have been sold years ago, and Mum and Dad should have moved somewhere smaller and more practical and accessible when their health first started failing, probably about a decade ago.

But instead they chose to sit tight in denial and hold on to the bitter end, insisting that they would both manage to live there independently until they died. However now in their 80s neither are fit to be there any longer, they both now live elsewhere and as of yesterday it falls entirely to my brother and I to sort everything out and sell up for them.

Fifty years of the accumulated stuff of life – paperwork, personal possessions, old photographs, family mementos and memories, toys and teddies. Not to mention all the excess furniture and fripperies, including a full set of my maternal grandmother’s wedding china from the late 1930s kept wrapped up and stored in a box ‘for best’. And Dad’s old army suitcase from when he did his National Service in the 1950s.

Of course there will be some things of sentimental value to other family members that will definitely be kept, but much of what is remaining after everything is sorted out will inevitably be donated to charity. It seems a bit heartless, but what else can we do? Dad doesn’t remember any more, and Mum no longer has any room to keep it all.

I have no idea how long it will take us to clear things away enough to put the house on the market, no idea how I will feel at the end of the day when all is said and done. But right now all I can say is I’m dreading it…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Defunct

Procure or Endure

Wish I had the spare funds to procure
A new hip but I’m really not sure
Just how long I must wait
For an NHS date
Until then I must simply endure…

Just to say, I’m not really complaining about the NHS here, I think we have a potentially workable healthcare system here in the UK that is currently in complete crisis.

I certainly sympathise with the bloody awful situation the NHS is in post-pandemic (not that it was in the most robust of states before Covid, for that matter), and I know from personal experience just how hard individual staff members work on each shift.

If I’m complaining about anything it would be the Government having consistently demanded blood out of a stone year on year, well beyond the point of the NHS being left able to provide a manageable service.

But it’s still really frustrating to be on the receiving end of ever-expanding years-long waiting lists for debilitating health things (like my arthritic hip) to be treated with surgery.

It seems I will have to have completely ground to a halt joint-wise before anything can be done on the NHS with regard to them offering me a total hip replacement… sigh!

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Procure

My Dad and Dementia

Hold your memories close to your heart
For dementia will rip them apart
Tattered shreds haunt your mind
Broken threads hard to find
Shattered images fade, then depart...

I realise I haven’t written about my dad lately… He’s still with us in body if not always in mind, but it gets harder to see the tiny little differences in him every time I visit him in the care home where he now lives permanently. It’s as if he is slowly withdrawing from the world, day by day.

My dad will be 87 next month, but has had vascular dementia since he was 80, so over the last seven years the dad I knew and loved so much has slowly been disintegrating mentally in front of our eyes, piece by piece, memory by memory, which is just heartbreaking to experience.

In the last decade dad has had five strokes, each one leaving him with even more reduced mobility than before, and since the last small stroke just before Christmas last year he no longer has much speech. He whispers a soft ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when asked a direct question but not much else, so it’s difficult to know where he is in his mind any more, because he can’t tell us what he’s thinking or where he’s at, neither in time nor place.

In the past, sometimes dad would know I was his daughter, or at other times he would think I was his sister but as long as I knew where he was in his mind on that day, we could usually have a reasonable conversation regardless. And now I simply sit with him and hold his hand, talk a bit about life a bit, then go home and cry…

One of our neighbours, a sprightly 83 year old man who reminded me a lot of my dad as he used to be, died suddenly a couple of weeks ago. He had one massive stroke one day and was gone, just like that. It’s strange not seeing him around, but it’s made me think a lot about dad and his drastically reduced quality of life, and it hurts to remember that’s always how dad said he wanted to go – at home one minute, living a normal full life as usual, and then just gone…

Fandango’s Provocative Question this week asks simply – How are you? And I realise I am grieving for someone who is still alive, but not really living any more. Grieving for the loss of connection, and the closeness we always had, and the beauty of wholly belonging in someone’s heart without question.

Because now the question is, does dad even know who I am any more? Does he recognise me as his daughter, or does he still think I’m his sister, or is the occasional look of recognition he gives me just a vague familiar feeling that this is someone that I should know?

I still love my dad so very much and always will, but it saddens me so much to see him this way. The physical lack of mobility after the strokes I could cope with, but the mental deterioration of vascular dementia has so cruelly taken my beloved dad away from me, from all of us, and that reality makes me fiercely determined to live life while I can.

So don’t waste any more time procrastinating if there are important things you want to do before you die, because you never know what cruel twist of fate is waiting round the corner for you…

A Vagina or a Voice

‘Let’s face it, it’s like, you’ve either got a vagina or a voice, you don’t seem to have both, do you?’

Sharon Moore

Comment from a BBC report on women’s health in relation to female medical conditions, discussing how many women still feel dismissed or not taken seriously by health professionals…

One Liner Wednesday

Idle Time

Idle Time…

Choose to idle away many hours
Sitting out in my garden of flowers
It’s my own time to waste
Any guilt is erased
As I soak up each plant’s healing powers

I enjoy not just colour but scent
As I savour the time that is spent
In the fresh airy breeze
Doing just as I please
Sitting quietly, smiling, content…

Weekly Prompt: Waste

PS The image is a photograph of a page of a little book titled ‘Self-Care: How to live mindfully and look after yourself’ by Claire Chamberlain 🙂

My Snazzy Walking Stick

My snazzy new walking stick with its blue wood handle and patterned metal height-adjustable shaft – I decided if I have to walk with a stick, I’ll have a fun one! 🙂

PS I also have a plain burgundy stick for when I feel the need to be more sombre… I might even start myself a small collection of different sticks to match my many different moods…

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Snazzy