I took yesterday off to use up some of my accrued time and Lady M worked from home so the general heat has settled across the flat like a blanket. Having Lady T visit for cold coffees and first refusal on some XBox games for her family before I trade them in was a delight, if only because it was a good excuse to jump in the car and fire up the air conditioning.
Today I woke with definite plans for my Saturday, but here I am in a mood dip because its been so unrelentingly hot that its sapped all will to move and now my brain is berating me for losing a day.
Lady M has of course reminded me that a day of doing nothing is not really a problem. I did sit and finish Powerwasher Simulator so I suppose there’s that.
I’d dig a hole to crawl into, but that involves effort, and my executive dysfunction has set in for the night
I’m in the process of drafting a statement in support of a nomination I’m making for a staff awards event. My main problem is concisely reducing the statement to only 500 words. This is not a lot when considering the range of criteria asked for and the range of things that has promoted me to make the nomination.
If this is the worst problem I have to deal with this week, I shall count myself lucky.
Even if the award isn’t given, the nomination will be a public sign of support for incredible work, so either way there’s a positive outcome. And yes I’m being deliberately vague at the moment as I’d like it to be a surprise.
Celebrating the positive achievements going on in the face of all the challenges is important, and is something I love being able to do.
I came up with a new word to describe how Lady M interacts with the world: datavore. If there’s information, she has to have it – from reading the labels of parcels in the foyer, and peering over shoulders at social media or messages, she just can’t help herself.
Show her a message, and without thinking she scrolls up to see what came before. When challenged she says she’s looking for context, or “just in case it’s important”
As someone who has already filtered and positioned a piece of information for consumption, or who has put the start of the relevant information or story front and centre, it therefore never fails to make me clench my teeth.
It isn’t a worry that anything compromising may be seen, it’s what my brain identifies as disregarding the effort made to consciously present information – like someone wanting to see the unpublished cards in your PowerPoint presentation while you’re in the middle of starting your presentation.
I know she can’t help it, and that her entire being is dedicated to gathering information at all times like a sponge – but I may have to start keeping an old copy of Private Eye rolled up and to hand to lovingly boop her on the nose next time it appears at my shoulder…
Either that or arrange to have something truly strange on my screen the next time she looks
Lady M is back in the country, having lightly terrorised her European counterparts, traumatised random gawkers who tried ogling her, and bemused fellow travellers by snoring through takeoff on the way home.
Lady M always looks nonplussed when people say that she is scary. I’ve never seen it myself, but I’ve had enough people confess that they’re lightly terrified of her to presume it’s some combination of the North East accent and her tenacious attitude.
Lady M in full sail is a masterclass in watching someone go from point A to point C without being concerned that point B makes it not a straight line journey. It might be a zigzag for most people, but not Lady M. Nine time out of ten, reality shuffles a bit to accommodate this, and the times it doesn’t is where I step in.
In the words of Nanny Ogg shes’ “an old softie really”
Any similarity between Lady M and Greebo is purely coincidental.
I’ve been reminded that I do a great job of looking after and supporting my staff and really should look after myself as well. The conversation then veered across into reminding me that I should actually be using my leave. So I’ve taken the subtle hint and will be taking a few days.
Well, after I’ve sorted the next few days out, because dropping everything at a moment’s notice helps nobody.
I was going to write something about the joy of dancing and connection, but my brain fog is rolling in, so I’ll save those musings for when I can make them properly. An early-ish night calls.
I had a chunk of memory fall out of the sky this afternoon and smack me in the back of the neck – which was already feeling stressed with my brain being in a weird space as it was. The chunk of memory was of being in hospital when I was first diagnosed with diabetes – or rather it was from a swathe of time early in the weekend that I just have not been able to reliably recall or reconstruct since all the excitement hit. This may be a bit graphic for medical type stuff, so if that upsets you please miss the next paragraph as it makes me squirm thinking about it. The chunk of memory seems to have been dislodged by reading an article today about a DJ who ended up in hospital with necrotising fasciitis.
I remember the fever and flu-like symptoms and my legs ballooning and turning red – I vaguely remember friends rallying round late night while waiting for an emergency appointment in the morning – I think? I don’t remember much beyond snatches of conversation, a blink of an eye and talking with a GP, then being sent straight to A&E. I do remember having at least one set of drips in – and my parents were there, and my being very concerned that something was even more wrong than the doctors knew. I remember that my legs were bound and wrapped in bandages, and yet as soon as I put my foot on the ground I was leaving wet dark yellow viscous residues on the floor in the shape of my feet – and I’m pretty sure the only reason I wasn’t shrieking was whatever painkillers were already in me. There was a sweet smell of rot – and I remember grabbing my dad as he was the nearest and saying – “All I can smell is rot, and I’m pretty sure its me.” And that’s the last I remember – at least until I opened my eyes with two surgeons standing over me and telling me they’d got my kidneys and liver working again, and did I know I had diabetes.
Sixteen years later, I still have very visibly dark scarring on my legs. I don’t know the details of what they had to do, but apparently they did it on the ward because there wasn’t any time left. We only really found out about what particular bug had decided to complicate the number of things that had all decided to go wrong at once by reading the charts and asking pointed questions. Apparently its the type of bacteria that lives for years in the body waiting for an opportunity to wreak havoc and could have been with me since my many bouts of tonsillitis as a child. No one knows, and frankly its not worth tracing back to find out.
My brain being what it is, I can feel and smell it all over again – even as a memory – as well as echoes of the pain, though that could just be the aches of being fifty years old joining in to spread the love. As I look down at my legs, it makes me ever more grateful both for the extra years I’ve had because of the swift actions of doctors, but also for the ongoing care of the NHS – even if it does sometimes feel like gentle bullying for my own good to keep me on the straight and narrow.
My brain has obviously decided that I can cope with this memory now – and perhaps its a timely reminder to not take anything for granted. I’m pretty sure my loved ones will say there’s little chance of my doing that – and that alone is something I’m grateful for.
My body has decided that I need to stop doing things today so other than a quick trip to Tesco to get essential supplies in (accompanying Lady M who had far too much energy today) I shall not be doing much of anything other than this blog, some reading, and possibly some Destiny to finish off the Seasonal Event Armour and Seal. As the only thing outstanding on that is finishing another five vanguard operations that’s a fairly low impact goal.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Portsmouth Geek Retreat opening, which we were there for, so we’ve cobbled together a plan to descend there in the afternoon for our D&D session – or as much of one as we can assemble. As I write this I am idly working out the ratio of physical books to laptop and phone digital resources to comfortably transport – and of course all the dice so they can have a proper outing.
I’m not sure everyone’s quite cottoned on that’s the plan yet, but even if I just do a cut down side-bar one-shot it’ll be a good day out and something to treasure. Either way, the write-up will be entertaining as a huge amount of winging it is on the cards.
We had a dance company in at one of my libraries yesterday performing a series of 10 minute pieces based around the interactions of people on the doorstep – inspired by lockdown among other things it features love blooming between a shopper and a delivery person. Fast, funny, suitable for all ages, and a great way of opening up library spaces and the way people think about them. The series is called “Doorstep Duets” and its presented by New/Adventures – they’re touring all over the place so keep an eye out for them.
Libraries are being used more and more for creative purposes, and its wonderful to see new people coming in to experience them. We did a recent survey of the sort of activities people would like to see, and a striking number wanted to see performances and music more often. Between that and a resurgent interest in local history we’ve got some good places to start in reimagining how we grab people’s imaginations. There were certainly a lot of smiles at the performances yesterday, so that’s a good start.
Last week was heavy going, for a variety of reasons that I won’t bore you with at the moment; and the tail end of the weekend was spent being anxious and tired and generally overwhelmed with life. It wasn’t until the early hours of this morning though that I decided I needed to have a time out. I had enough accrued time, no meetings booked in, and as far as I could tell nothing looming that couldn’t survive waiting another twenty four hours or so for my direct attention.
Eleven year old children, however, are no respecters of mental health time. I already knew the cub was coming over today, but I reckoned without the bright cheeriness and inquisitive soul popping his head round the door every half hour or so with some bon mot or repetition of a school in-joke that had him chortling and myself considering whether he actually needed both legs.
So I’m partially rested, and have done small household odds and ends and some grocery shopping without being tempted to look at my phone or log in to work email – so in the grand scheme of things it’ll do.
I’ve just had a text from Lady M to say she’s on her way home too. With the cub ensconced back with his favourite YouTuber streams and some chocolate milk I think the odds are good she’ll arrive back to a fairly intact flat. If I can just get this anxiety to give it a rest, that will be a great bonus.
So, here in the UK we’re having a heatwave with temperatures pushing 30C as I write and warnings of 40 tomorrow. As I’m diabetic I’m keeping an extra eye on myself and keeping hydrated and as in the shade as I can so I don’t burn my shaved head and boil my own brain. Perhaps I’m not particularly exercised at the moment though because of my relative memories of visiting Florida a few years back during one of their heatwaves. You could tell it was hot because even the native Floridians were commenting on it and I lost track of the number of overworked air conditioning units I saw leaking everywhere.
Thinking more close to home however, I was reminded today that the last time we had weather like this was in the summer of 1976 – which for me remains the high bar of the perfect summer (at least judged through the eyes of four year old me) – the days were long, we ran around in very little. We had a paddling pool pretty much permanently up or being refilled. The garden paving slabs were too hot to walk barefoot on – but of course being me I made a game of how long I could run on them before either hopping into shadow or onto the dry crinkled grass beside it. I don’t remember burning my feet but I’m sure my parents despaired.
We had a dog – a dalmation – who very sensibly stayed indoors, or stretched out in the shade with a expression of “touch me and die”. He was a vicious brute, but he was our vicious brute, and he would greatly enjoy accompanying dad into the church to lie on the cool flagstones inside and keep him company.
Thinking about it, I’m pretty sure I’m mixing up memories of being older in a similar hot summer a few years later while living at a different vicarage but the basics remain the same. I can’t remember very much from my childhood – but hot summers definitely made their mark.
Is there a point to this? Not really, just sharing reminiscences born of the heat and how this weekend is largely spent doing very little, or appreciating the shade as I do things like take the recycling out or do battle in tesco to take advantage of their air conditioning. At least with no children in the house I can enjoy walking round naked in the flat while the water from my most recent cool shower evaporates. Now there’s an image…