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We All Went Down to Montreux


Initially I would bang off one of these posts in an hour or so, now I spread the effort over a couple of days, maybe longer. So when I say “today” I might mean “yesterday”, when I say “tomorrow” it may well be “today”. I might write in the present tense which may now be the past tense. As long as I’m coherent then I don’t think it matters much. If I don’t care then you definitely shouldn't care. Anyway back to crafting this post.


Not so long ago I was a brown belt in conversational quick wit and repartee now I struggle to find the correct words. I used to take great pleasure in my ability be able to take a contrary view in a debate just for the fun of it, now it’s hard to stand my ground when discussing those things I actually care about. At least I can still write. I suppose dementia must start a bit like this. Only yesterday I took a completely wrong turn on the way to our regular Thursday Coffee Club. To engage in a meaningful or worthwhile conversation is flippin’ hard going. How hard are we talking? We’re talking “go straight to bed for a rest” hard. At least I can engage in meaningless chat for ages, I think I actually made a career out of it but who’d have thought keeping the cogs turning could be so tiring.


When I ponder the changes I’ve already experienced and those yet to come I begin to understand, in a minor way, how hard it must be for some people to cope, some simply don’t. Thankfully I rarely stand at the edge of the precipice but, occasionally, when I stare into the abyss I can sometimes trace it back to a part of a conversation or even a snippet of someone else's exchange. It does my head in! Thankfully mental health has, in recent years, become a much more acceptable topic of discussion. I spent a good number of years working with and supporting clients with a variety of mental health issues. Perhaps that's why I'm happy to talk about my own issues. Of course I’m pretty easy to diagnose and treat. I take antidepressants every morning and every evening. I haven’t a Scooby what's in them but they definitely work and a bonus side effect is they help with my heavy metal poisoning. So a little bit less ‘Smoke on the Water’.


We’ve come a long way in recent years in accepting disability in general but like all equality issues we still have a long way to go. Here's some interesting stats. This year in England 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind. This week in England 1 in 6 people will report experiencing a common mental health problem (like anxiety and depression). In your lifetime you have a 50/50 chance of having some kind of cancer. And every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer. Sobering statistics. Today I was asked what it felt like to be told I had cancer. I said scared, frightened, disbelief but what I didn’t say was you have a pretty good chance of finding out for yourself.

How things change. When we were young, my brothers and I, if we were behaving particularly badly, were threatened with being sent to Bodmin. At the time Bodmin had a large mental health institution, asylum or loony bin, St Lawrence’s Hospital. What an odd thing to threaten young kids with. Well it was the 60s, we must have been made of tougher stuff back then. We were also told we’d end up working with a pick and shovel if we didn’t work hard. Well I didn’t end up working with a pick and shovel although I did end up in the loony bin but only after it was converted to offices.

As a young family with 5 ravenous boys our parents must have worked very hard just to put food on the table. Mum and dad had a squadron of caravans at Parbados* (there is no collective noun for caravans). Those caravans must have been an important boost to the coffers. Dad’s regular job was a plant machinery driver for ECLP. ECLP dug all the holes that Imerys now own.

As if all that wasn’t enough he was also the caretaker at Bugle School. Talk about work hard. My parents hard work instilled in my brothers and I a healthy work ethic which, by and large, we in turn have passed on to our children. My own work ethic seems to have slowly evaporated over the last 4 years. I don’t think I need to explain why. The whole tragic cancer thing is getting a bit passé although it's cancer not covid that’s the driver for this blog. I have a slight worry that even writing this blog actually perpetuates my misery.


So I need to scan my milieu (social and physical surroundings) for something a little bit uplifting.

First; This weekend, our number 1 grandson, Louie, had a brilliant result at the Regional BMX event at Blackwater, 4th overall in the age range of which he’s probably youngest and smallest. We were hoping to get to see the racing but unfortunately I wasn't up to it.

Second; Later this week Tricia and I are taking the MH to Kentisbeare in Devon for a few days. I must remember to take a book or two and the binoculars. Last time we went away we had fabulous views but no bins.



Third; I’ve discovered I can comfortably wear more of my shoes than expected. There’s no point in saving them for best although I’ll probably give my black patent dress shoes a miss.


Anyway, enough of this inane chatter.

Enjoy your week, enjoy your shoes.


BREAKING NEWS I'm having coffee at AJs at 10am today. Just saying.



*Parbados aka, Par beach.


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