Saturday, 18 June 2022

Pride and Prejudice

Because it's Pride Month - and Love is Love

Back in 2020, I  blogged about being made redundant from a place where I'd enjoyed working. I quickly landed a similar job, and have worked there since as a part-time Activity Co-ordinator.

Anyway, out of the blue my old job was offered back to me, and without hesitation I have accepted. It's still part-time, which suits me fine, and at a higher rate of pay, and I'll be working with a much more socially active group of people than I am currently. So, to keep the story short, I'm looking forward to starting my new (old) job on Monday 27th.

Mum turned 93 this month, and I was finally able to visit her. I'd not seen her since before the Covid-19 pandemic began, as I wasn't the designated visitor, and then each time I had planned to visit either her care home or the home where I work had a Covid outbreak which meant I couldn't go. Countless other people have been in similar positions, of course, unable to visit relatives due to governmental decrees - those same decrees which the government themselves have flaunted repeatedly.

Mum is as well as can be expected for a 93 year-old who is living with dementia. She was snoozing in front of the TV in one of the lounges when I arrived, and she didn't recognise me at first. Once she'd had chance to wake up properly and I told her who I was, she managed quite well. Her mind is focussed on long-past events but this is typical, as recent and short-term memories are destroyed by the causes of the dementia. So we talked about her marching, as a girl, in Knutsford's May Day parades, and her first jobs, and being a registered childminder, and how she'd had a go at hosting Tupperware parties to earn a bit more money, and how she'd volunteered with the Civil Defence and Red Cross, and how she had jived and jitterbugged with American GI's at Burtonwood Airfield, and so on... Old, old family stories, but rich with memories for her.

Richard and I have been watching some 1970's TV series, such as Man About the House, George and Mildred and On The Busses. These were the staples of family entertainment when we were children, and they can still make us laugh now, to an extent. These shows clearly highlight how social attitudes have changed. The level of chauvinism and predatory sexual pestering in On The Busses is stunning, and the misogyny fired at the character of Olive is nothing short of ugly. There is a light smattering of homophobic jokes, too. 

This material was considered entirely acceptable at the time. When bigotry and hatred, in all their multitudinous forms, is regularly served up as "just a bit of fun" then this becomes normalised, and what is held to be normal is the convention of its day - just as these shows are of their day, their era. 

Thank goodness attitudes, in the Western world at least, have improved. A person only needs to check the horrendous statistics for domestic violence to see that things need to improve a whole lot more, though.

Saturday, 21 May 2022

Dogs, Holes and Gardening



Rosie and Jim have settled in well. They've been with us since December last year. As their confidence has grown, it has been interesting to see their characters emerge. We were told by the animal rescue sanctuary that Rosie was timid. Oh no she isn't! This tiny bundle of fun is the instigator of most games and the creator of much mischief. She loves digging holes in (what's left of) the lawn. For Rosie, anything can be a toy; yesterday she and Jim were enjoying a tug-o-war with a long blade of dry grass.

Jim often runs around the house with toys in his mouth, the fluffier the better, and will bring us toys - but really he just wants cuddles. He loves being able to ramble around our garden by himself. Sometimes he just wants to snooze in a quiet spot. He'll do that for a few hours then come bounding back into company and want more cuddles.

We've had a few funny comments about them. One small child thought they might be "miniature moo-cows". Jim was described as a giant chihuahua by an elderly man who'd seen him. Later, he'd told his wife about this and she'd laughed at him and said giant chihuahua's don't exist. A few days later, the same couple saw Rosie and Jim out for a walk with Richard. "There, see!" said the man. "A giant chihuahua!"

Another time, a lady in the park asked me asked if they're mother and daughter. I replied, "They're siblings."

"I don't know that breed," replied the enquirer.

Richard with a few buddies
 Richard has a new job. His previous job with an agency only offered   zero hours contracts, and the agreement at his interview was that he'd   do a minimum of 20 hours per week. One month later, and without   warning this was cut to 14, and two weeks later another cut followed. 

 So obviously he began a job search! Within days he landed a new job   doing similar hotel work, employed directly by the hotel, and with a   proper contract offering a guaranteed number of hours plus overtime   if he wishes or if it's needed - a huge improvement over his previous   role. His new place seems a much more   pleasant working   environment, too, so he seems to have landed on his feet.

 I caught Covid-19. It came on me so quickly! The day before I     became ill, I was totally fine and enjoying a lovely day  with my   sister Evelyn. We lunched in a pleasant new cafĂ© then walked the full   length of Southport pier, stopping to enjoy a vintage  slot-machine   arcade whose machines still run on Imperial penny  coins. The swans   are lovely to watch, too, as was a creche of   goslings being guarded   by four adult geese.

The next day, I thought, Ooow, I feel a bit odd... By that evening I was running a temperature and 'enjoying' bizarre fever dreams in which I was busily sorting out documents which had numbers and large X's printed on them, and it was terribly important to get them in the right order. Lateral flow test showed two lines and so I was clearly Covid-positive. The rest of the week was mostly spent asleep.

Art Studio Desk, May 2022

Rosie, keeping me company in the art studio.

I've been painting, of course, and my adventures with art can be easily followed by watching the various YouTube videos I've posted here, or simply by heading over to my YouTube channel.
I've also been writing, working on the fifth Artisan-Sorcerer novel but also creating some short stories. I've always enjoyed short formats, as they're easy to fit around the day-job schedule and the multitude of other tasks which require attention - such as gardening.

Our Patio, May 2022

Jim, pottering around the plants