You're going WHERE, CLARE? DEMENTIA FRIENDLY WHAT, SERVICE...?
.....there was a smiley pink haired little creature. Who, if she ate the RIGHT sweets, from the RIGHT sweet shop owner, then she could jump, play and love her little creature life nearly all the time.
She had courage, too. Some sweet makers had given her bubble gum that made her bubble over and wear herself out, or strawberry bon bons that made her go to bed, she got so sleepy.
SHERBET THAT MAKES YOU SHAKY...
But, every time she'd been given the WRONG sweets by the WRONG sweet maker, she carried on searching; looking in sweet shop windows, road testing raspberry ripples, trying out toffee chews and sometimes shaking tiny bits of sherbet onto her tongue. Just in case ONE of them made her feel better.
She'd been to shops in Sugar Land, and Confectioners in Candy Floss Town. She'd tried rock ends in Raw Syrup City, and nearly choked on HUGE gob stoppers in 'Goo EE Chew by the Sea.
NO MORE CANDY CASH
For a while she'd FOUND those RIGHT sweets made by the RIGHT sweet maker, and she was as happy as a Sherbert dip dab on D day. But all this too-ing and fro-ing and resting and recovering from being given the WRONG fruity flavours had swallowed up most of the candy cash in her purse.
So, she packed up her sugar bags and found a small but still sweet new place to rest her weary creature head. Sweet maker rules said, she had to get her regular rhubarb and custard (the ones that helped her to cut the mustard) , from another NEW shop.Off she went, to meet the new shop keeper.
Grim Reapers Deadly Sour Pips! This shop lady was NO butterscotch honey! When she asked for the sweets she KNEW kept her as well and dandy as a cola shandy, you could hear an ACID DROP.
The silence would have made the funniest fizz bomb fade and even the most perfect peppermint cream curl.
'NO ONE IS SPECIAL IN MY MINT IMPERIAL MEDICATION MANSION'....!
The liquorice tongued lady lashed out: 'you will have the SAME sweets as EVERYONE else....NO-ONE is special in MY Mint Imperial Medication Mansion.
The little creature, started to cry. Big fat sugar free tears trickled down her little friendly face. She trudged out of the shop; taking time to notice a long queue of sad eyed souls, all chewing the same way.
They seemed to be eating exactly the same sweets, too. One offered her an over boiled tiny little tablet. Then another did the same. Soon there were over 200 sad souls, their rice papery hands out, with the SAME tastless looking tablet ON EVERY PALM.
She thanked them for their kindness, but ran out of the door and down the sweet wrappered road as fast as her now creaky creaturely legs could carry her; ready to break, her bones nut brittle.
BETWEEN A CINNAMON ROCK AND A HARD PLACE...
She was between a cinnamon rock and a hard place. Although she wanted to give up and go and hide in her ginger bed: she knew she HAD to ask her Fisherman's Friends for help. 'I won't let that Aniseed Twist me up tight I'm gong to Har – I go and get my spangle back somehow, some day. ...you just wait and see...'
(To Be continued).
Pots? Yes. But NO pants. Pillows? Yup. Pants? No. New 'Fast Clumping' cat litter? Check. Still. No. Pants. After 13, no 14, a -Stephen-Hawking-infinite-universe no of boxes. No. Pants. Anywhere.
NOW I COULD WALK 5 HUN-DRED MILES....
I'd moved into my new manor after:7 months; 30 viewings, 30 estate agents 'n speed dial, 30 sec Rightmove alerts all day every day,(cuddly toy: a 'Generation Game' conveyor belt: back-on-TV-no-launch-date-yet) 2 previous flat 'yeses', then 'no – but..', (microwave), 100 plus miles walking; google maps upside down, no car, sold; (Kenwood Mixer).
All this, a challenge for an Olympic standard executive functioner. 'Executive functioner'? Translation: 'person who thrives on admin. and knows they bought an extension lead 2/8/91; they still have the bank statement'.
Believe me I WAS organised. Very. But my BRAIN is not a naturally ordered organ. Skyping sister in tears, (she was a brilliant help because she DOES have a brain that puts things in the right drawer), and THEN not finding the lease, when I had FILED it, was the least of it.
DEED DELAYED BY 'DAMAGES' F HOLD LAWYER
Fast forward to the first week post move; (never thought I'd say that), and the deed was done. Literally. Delayed for eons (the deed), by Freeholder lawyer who thought she was Glenn Close in 'Damages' / 'Jagged Edge'. But, things were not dusted by a long chalk/marker pen/biro. Couldn't find those, either.
TIN LABEL TYRANNY
Back seized, right hand went on strike and the new recycling system had me ripping off labels from baked bean tins, believing this to be a council requirement. Terrifed my 'black box', (bottles/ plastics) would remain coke can full, with a fine slapped to its side, I began to overcompensate. Brexit angst? Mild, compared to 'Tin label tyranny'.
My move: from my dear old dollshouse sized flat, to my equally lovely, 'shade smaller', version (with shared garden: shared by 10 cats, that is), was to cut costs. So I can, with midlife abandon, and serola belt tightly fixed; (new chiropractor tip; I could hardly walk; too much box lifting), write my play/book/vlogs/podcasts. And; perhaps; just do NOTHING for five minutes.
FAST CLUMPING MAIZY
Second week after move, a good friend gave me a lift back to my new manor; it had been a sweaty, and demanding working day. She was relentlessly upbeat about the location, living room, and the rest; despite a serious litter tray whiff. Still, the new 'fast clumping' Maizy will sort that. Bought from new (to me) Pet shop, I have already signed up for 'puppy hour'. I have a cat.
Praps I should add to my linkedin profile? 'Fast clumping Clare'; under duress? She'll just soak up the mess. Oh, I found pants. In box marked survival kit, next to grouting.
2nd August 2017
Ever done that ? Run out of va va voom and left it? Glaring. At. You.
Dust mountains build. Cat hair lingers; regrouping itself as a sofa 'throw'. (Cat scarpered quick, can't stand the roar). The job's not finished, and you're considering throwing yourself UNDER the cat fur throw, and not coming out. Ever.
LETTING YOURSELF GOOOOOOO......
'You're letting yourself/life/'home management, go'. This the most accusatory mantra of our age. Crime of all crimes. Haven't got your flat stomach back, 3 days after giving birth? The Daily Mail would put you in jail. Failed to get into the top ten up n' comings under 30/40 list? (If your name's not there by 50, hide under the stairs, NOW).
EVER NOTE: EVERSO IN YOUR FACE
Our Ever note phone planners buzz hysterically, always everso in your face. The tyranny of the urgent, sabotaging what you or I REALLY dream of. A spot of daydreaming? Off with her head! Want to begin the novel/meditate/pray/sew velvet onto a Primark T, lie on your back with your 2 year old and count nothing in particular? Flights of fancy missus!
'NOT GOOD ENOUGH NARRATIVES?'
It's only when I collapse in a heap under a mountain of unanswered mails, texts and whatsapp 'by the ways', that I realise I'm out of juice. It's such a human trait to focus on and generate outside busyness, rather than face the maelstrom inside. Driven by all those 'not good enough' narratives in our head, the distractions can push us to the edge of a perfectionist precipice.
PUNCTURING EXTERNAL PUFFERY
I am (just about) learning to take stock BEFORE the sickness, job loss, break up, death, curve ball brings me to an emergency stop or punctures my external puffery. Do I really 'need' that gig/lipstick/love affair? Is it possible that Brexit/the election/ Treesa and Jezza, will carry on without my undivided? Do I 'have' to wash every sock or mug before I sit down? I know the answer, and so do you. That's why I 'sometimes' leave the hoover in the middle of the room. Try it. Dull people have dust free homes anyway. Mind you, I'd LOVE a Dyson.
Honest, moving, and brutal in parts, this was NOT 'baby jeeeesus' in a manger. (Most of those jesus babes are dead ringers for 'horror Chucky', for my liking.). I went, because I'd supported a mum who's daughter had been shot. AND because I'd nearly managed to erase myself in the past, trying too hard to stay in damaging relationships. Both were some years' ago, but both have given me a determination to be alive, fully, to myself, and not bury bits of myself just to keep the peace. That leads to a living death.
MINCE PIES AND UN-MINCED WORDS
I can 'do' the carols/cute kids in sheets and trips to tinsel town; but too much of that, feels like fast food. Just doesn't satisfy the soul. Not my soul, anyway. The conversations at the St. Martin's do, didn't mince words. 'My mum was shot, I can't forgive'. Said one woman, as we both balanced a mince pie on our coffee saucers. Mine fell on the floor. We laughed, and then she carried on, not missing a beat. 'It's raw every year. Every year I come here. Every year I light that candle, feel better for a bit, and then I don't'.
Not a Christmas church happy clappy ending, then. But SUCH a relief . Perhaps, for both of us. She could be honest about her pain, WITHOUT any pressure to 'cheer up'. And she trusted me enough, to tell me how she really felt. A gift. Bizarre, thought it may seem.
PANTO'S MAGIC WAND, CAN'T FIX IT
There are nasties/horrors/ events, an moments in all our lives, where if we could just wave that pantomime good-fairy wand and make it 'go away', we would. Who WANTS a precious life ripped from us? Who WANTS the subsequent pain to ricochet around our waking moments; bouncing off our body walls, and bringing us to our knees in agony? Not me, not you, I suspect, not anyone.
The hope bit, was there, though. We breathed, we laughed, we sang, we cried, we shook. We looked up with childlike gratitude as red and white petals showered down upon us at the end of the service; bloody human battles mingled with hints of white respite. Red/white/red/white, then red again. Despair/hope/despair/hope then.....a moment of fleeting acceptance, then.........
SMALL RESURRECTIONS PUNCHING THEIR WAY TO US AND THROUGH US
Everyone's grief, is different. Everyone in that church was different. There was little or no pretence. I 'the other', all of us, were enough. As we were. 2016 hasn't exactly been a celebration of human connection. But this, this simple, stumbling memorial service, with all it's broken hearts and broken lives, led me a step closer to the god-self of my understanding. There were slithers of hope, mixed in with the horror of unwanted death. Small resurrections punching their way to us and through us. Blinking in the light like a mole, in Trafalgar Square afterwards, I reflected on the strength that so often comes from such vulnerability. Tears, human connection, and the messiness of my dropped mince pie on the floor had loosened that terminal grip. For just a moment.