August 2021..

Dogs, Mushrooms and Other Thoughts

It seems like forever, since my fingers have touched the keyboard, to write a blog. So much has happened since the 27th July when The Electric Mobility Scooter was published. Some of August will be of interest, some of it has been “deleted” in my mind.

So I will start with the “Other”.

South Africa was turned into the Wild West, for a week to ten days, by some people, with the ability to punch out incitements’ on their social media sites. The reason behind this sedition is laughable really, an old man who has been screaming for years that he wanted his day in court, was finally given his wish, in as much as he was given the opportunity to tell his story to a Commission of Inquiry. But, he walks out and away from his chance of telling his truth, and is, therefore, slapped with a contempt charge. Which means he is given a 15 month jail time. Not sure exactly how long that lasted, maybe 36-48 hrs, but the next thing he has been booked into a hospital, after one of his son’s had repeatedly said his dad was in great health and if that should change…well suffice to say, to me, it sounded like a veiled warning, of some sort.

It seems his family and devotees were pretty upset he was sent to jail! And this is why all “hell let loose” in July. That is my synopsis and understanding of the situation. Actually, there is much more to that story, with twist and turns, including the under belly of dark and sinister reasoning, but I am sure someone, someday, will publish a book and then someone else will publish another book refuting the first book. And then a socially aware poet will do their “thing”.

My day a in “court” ended like this!

DOGS Moving on to my more relatable life! Barney and Maggie like all loved/spoilt fur babies, are characters of note. They have special ways to get our attention, which only their besotted owners understand. My two are no exception, 5.15 pm is “family” time, this means we are settling down to the evening routine, which starts with 4 doggy treats for each of them, a beer for hubby and a whiskey and soda for me. They watch my husband open the box, as he takes out one treat at a time, to put on his side-table. It seems, in unison, they count, 1, 2, 3, etc. but I can’t be sure of that! But their eyes do follow every movement he makes. After the treats they settle, either on the floor or the next room where their beds are. Unless, that is, my husband has kindly brought the small beds into the room with us.

When we go to bed, he has to lug the beds back to my office, where they sleep. I sometimes hear him muttering under his breath @#* so I decided to do something drastic, not knowing we would then see a different side of Barney and Maggie. I bought a mini sofa, which I thought, they would share in the evenings.

It has been about two weeks since they had this sofa-bed, and they seemed to have worked out a system of sharing, no, I doubt they would sit together, as Maggie is a “nest-builder”, and Barney hardly moves once he is in his bed. But as one of them vacates the sofa-bed to have water, the other hops up and settles down. This goes on all evening, especially as Maggie has a great thirst, no not diabetic, just thirsty! By the way, the cushion came with it, nifty. Now hubby only has to lug one small bed, so he is happy.

MUSHROOMS this is the most interesting part of my August Month.

We watch Netflix as our entertainment, and we stumbled across the documentary called “Fantastic Fungi” which, I have no doubt, many of you have already seen. It caught my eye, as in the ’80’s, I used to work for a mushroom company called Denny Mushroom’s here in South Africa. Louie Schwartzberg, Paul Stamets and a host of incredible learned people went in to making this film of about 1.30 hrs, I learnt so much new information, which I then followed up with my own research. There is Lion’s Mane, Turkey Tail (also know as Trametes versicolor ) Cordyceps’, which grows on certain caterpillars! Shiitake, Maitake, Reishi, and so the list goes on. They all have unique properties in helping the body, mind, nerve growth, and our hormones to work correctly. Some also help regulate blood-pressure, control cholesterol levels and encouraging the “good” bacteria in our gut, & so on.

This knowledge has been known and used for 1000 of years by Traditional Healers, Songomas and Herbalists on all the continents. Having spent only a few weeks learning, it occurred to me that I should seriously think about starting a course of these amazing fungi. But which one’s would be suitable for what I wanted to achieve or see improvements in?

Taking tablets of any sort, is not my favourite, so I decided to take a complex, or a combination of Shiitake , Cordyceps , Reishi , Maitake and Lions Mane, in one tab. There is 100mg of each of those mushroom’s per tab. FULL SPECTRUM MUSHROOM COMPLEX to give it’s correct name. I started 7 days ago. Some of the website reviews claimed , “energy levels have increased” “sleeping better.” “stress levels controlled” As this is only the start of a new regime, I may have more to say next time around or I may think I am totally beyond help!

As an aside One of the prescribed medications, which I have been taking since 2017, is to help regenerate the nerves in my lower back all the way down to my toes, but I read about 3 months ago, this drug actually encouraged weight gain. Those of you that know me also know I have struggled to lose weight even though I keep my calorie in take way down, at 900 per day. I decided to stopped taking it very recently, and without trying, my weight is going down. But this past 7 days there has been a remarkable loss. Which was another reason for me to try the Fungi route.

Are any of you taking the various Fungus ? If so, what are your experiences and thoughts? I would love to know, please.

SO MANY CHOICES, BUT FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS!

The Electric Mobility Scooter

WHAT IS SHE DOING NOW?

As the last 2 weeks have been very scary and unbelievably cruel for some people in South Africa, I wanted to lighten this blog with a little bit of nonsense, to do with my Electric Scooter. I also want to say, how fortunate I was, not to be very close to the riots which caused so much hardship to many people. That being said, I must also need to point out, that there are many more good people than bad that live here in South Africa, as seen by the amazing civilians who took it upon themselves to protect the shopping malls that were being targeted, the Kasi Brothers are just one group of people that stayed out all night (at -1 centigrade 30.2 F) at a Mamelodi shopping mall. If you are reading this “Thank you guys.”

THE ELECTRIC SCOOTER

Was this going to be a good idea?                                                                                              Or was this going to be a disaster?                                                                              Whatever the outcome, I will have no fear                                                                      As the day may well end in laughter!                                                                        Then it arrived, yes, the Scooter has arrived                                                            Also, my able-bodied neighbour appeared                                                             She got on my Scooter, squealing then cheered                                                     "Let's have a go" and off she careered.                                                                           
I practiced slowly, around the village                                                                                 It seemed like a very long pilgrimage                                                                       Quietly I went, yet net curtains twitched                                                                    But, overall, my life will be enriched.                                                                             I used to drive a Mercedes sports                                                                          Down to the shops and tennis courts                                                                            The speedo went up to two-fifty                                                                                     Can you imagine? It was very nifty.                                                                                   This Scooter's speedo should a Hare or a Snail                                                                      At least this means I will keep out jail!  
                                                                           
Shopping

My first Scooter was in 1967, it was a pale green Ariel (a 3 wheeler!) Long story short, the Ariel gave me a little taste of independence, even though it was in the back of our car, more often than not. I usually arrived at the Clanfield village launderette in one piece, which was about 5 miles away from our farm. But nine times out of ten, this was about as far as I could go, because when I turned the engine off, there was a great reluctance for the ruddy scooter to re-start. That, of course, is why it spent so much time in the boot of the car.

So, I was a little concerned, about getting a four-wheeled Mobility Scooter, 50+ years later. There again, being the eternal optimist, I thought, “What could go wrong?” Not wanting to be “spied” upon, I decided to practise at night, especially as there are no street lights in this retirement village. I practised diligently. There are no lights on the scooter, either, so I had to pick my nightly jaunts’ carefully. Only Moonlit nights! When in reverse, the Scooter make’s the same noise as a delivery truck in reverse, so I could not practice that manoeuvre, for fear of alerting the villagers. This lack of practise will be my downfall, also the darn thing did not have side mirrors! They would have useful for checking the lipstick ladies, as I am sure you are all aware.

Time flies, and my resolve got stronger to hit the outside world, a little shopping trip was the order of the day and about two week’s after the night time jaunts, it was decided ………”tomorrow we would venture to the mall.”

It was an exercise of pure determination, for hubby, trying to get the Scooter into the estate/station wagon. He could visualize a better lifestyle for himself, as he loathed pushing the wheelchair, he therefore persevered, secured the Scooter in the back, and off we went.

Down at shop level, it was bliss, as there were so few people around, because it was a Monday. The “pathways” had very few potential victims that I may collide with. The shop I was making for is mentioned in a previous blog, “The Dangers of Shopping in a Wheelchair” I needed to go back to my favourite clothes shop. Even if only to apologise.

Earlier, I remarked that not practicing reverse would be be my down fall. Not strictly true as I didn’t fall anywhere, but 2 mannequin did fall or (were they pushed?) Sadly, yes, because as I was trying to reverse, to leave the shop after an enjoyable 30 mins, I reversed straight into one, which had a domino effect on the other. One of the arms hit my head, causing me to grab the near by rail with knitted tops on. It crashed to the floor scattering the jumpers over my scooter and feet. But I will say how charmingly helpful the sales-persons were, as they rushed around helping the me or was it saving the clothes? The other customers, on the other hand, ran towards the exit, shooting me look’s that could have injured me. I called out “Just a Learner, thats me” but that made no difference to them.

Leaving the shop, with my dignity bent, I took a right turn straight to the lift. Waiting for my hubby to catch up with me, ( Hare is like a slow run) I realised that I had misplaced my shopping, which for the sake of peace (and a bit more solitude) he offered to go back to the shop to find the bag. Which he did.

                                                                                           
Forget It Mother!

So that, my dear reader, that was the first, but not the last time, I ventured out on my red electric scooter. Maggie and Barney, I have to say were and still are horrified at this new mode of transport. I thought it would be great to take them out and about, I visualised Maggie standing in between my feet, with Barney on a lead walking beside us. This was not to be, as they disappear so quickly when they think I may mount the beast!

If Only Maggie or Barney…!

What Happened To The Month Of June?

PART TWO

Time Flies

STRAWBERRY MOON
JUPITER


2021 The Month of June
 Gave us a Strawberry Moon,
 Wild winds with seas that churned,
As the earth crackled and burned,
With temperatures that soared,
Before the welcomed rain poured.
Was it the Hindu goddess Mariamman?
Or a god or goddess from another clan?
Or the king of the gods, Jupiter, himself? 
You will find him on many a good bookshelf.
Give thanks to Iris, as the rainbow goddess
As always, she is a such a colourful actress.
Then, on July 15th, St Swithin will tell us.
His 40-day weather plan, without any fuss.
So, the Month of June has been and gone,
And the other months will go on and on.

IRIS GODDESS OF RAINBOWS AND A MULIT¬TASKING ENTITY

By the way lovely readers, we bought different “treats” for Maggie and Barney, which was packaged with a very pretty green leaf on the bag. The dogs get sooo excited at 5pm which is sweetie time.!

What Happened to the Month of June?

PART ONE

TIME FLIES.

That is a real question, as I can not believe June just disappeared from my grasp, without my achieving anything of significant.

Now, the Astrologers will tell us, Mercury was Retrograde during June, and as it was in Gemini, communication and the different forms of communication, can stop, get muddled, nullified etc. ( that was a very simplistic example and as I am not specifically writing an Astrology blog…lets move on).

As I explained to TheWheelChairTeen and to Ade Trigg …”My ever spinning shrinking world” (both blogs I so enjoy,) my mind feels like a bowl of porridge!

A BOWL OF PORRIDGE

But, to be fair to my brain, it has been a month of extraordinary “happenings”.

First it was Barney and Maggie, my special rescue dogs, and the disappearing grooming lady, they had been going to Joan*not her real name, since 2014 and on the 7th of June it was their scheduled appointment. But when my husband arrived at Joan’s house, although the front door was unlocked, there was no one home. He went to the rear of the house, carefully, as he knew she had 3 big dogs, but it was devoid of her vehicle and her dogs. With that, another customer arrived, with her little dog who was keen to be beautified. It was agreed that as this was a mysterious situation, as Joan was usually good at alerting her customers of any change of plans. So before saying their good byes they decided they would message and phone Joan during the day until contact had been made.

Confused Puppies.

The “nearly” end of this story is…..having left a message on her phone asking if all was OK? 9 hours later the reply was….”I need a new heart, liver and kidney!” That was it, and no reply to my now many new questions.

What did she say?

The end of this story is, we found a new dog grooming parlour, which had a different routine, which we all agreed try. So, the following week Barney and Maggie went for their first appointment to be pampered. Their day at the groomers, was surprisingly short. When they arrived home, looking and smelling beautiful, yet, they were unusually, full of energy. This difference was so remarkable I sent an email to the owner as if it was from Barney and Maggie, thanking her etc., which was duly appreciated. And that was the start of my month of June.

But Watch This Space As June Has Only Just Begun !

Just a Thought

So this morning I read in various newspapers, that there seems to be a change of mindset, trickling through “the media influencers” of any importance that is. Victory!

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

It started with Laurence Paul Fox, who is an English actor of note and political activist, when he expressed his views about “the woke” fraternity, quite openly on a British television programme a few months ago, and the you know what hit the fan!

A few days ago, Alex Baldwin, the very well know actor and father, expressed his views about the “cancel culture” which is a cruel way to bully people. Good for him.

And the this morning the most amazing thing was the utterance’s of Sean Lennon, the well know and talented musician, who, on his Twitter account, was having a brilliant rant about the Politically Correctness gone rogue! (🧡love it.) ‘I know very well that the idea of being “colour blind” is out of fashion that MLK’s vision of character over skin colour is considered to be naïve , ‘ he said in part of his twitter.

Below is the link with regards Sean Lennon’s Twitter, if you are interested

John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s son Sean , 45 , slams ‘PC culture’ for ‘over sensitizing people· to arbitrary characteristics like skin· color’ in random Twitter tirade https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9613715/John-Lennon-Yoko-Onos-son-Sean-Lennon-hits-PC-culture-Twitter-tirade.html

When Dr. Martin Luther King verbalised his dream, he wanted, dare I say, needed to see a world in which people saw character first and colour not at all, it is something I have strived for all my life. It is irritating, to say the least, that there are people who arbitrarily decide to try and change, what many of us have held sacred for years, that is the words and ideals of good, strong people who are devoted to their dreams and beliefs, such as Dr. Martin Luther King and I must include, our very dear Mr. Nelson Mandela.

All the men above loathe and detest BULLIES, which you may recall, so do I, and it is just a thought, but this sort of insidious behaviour we have been watching grow over the years, reminds me of the “terrible two’s”. Those little darlings could become little bullies, if we dont redirect those energies into something more creative. Those of you that do not have children may not understand, but here goes.

Photo by mohamed abdelghaffar on Pexels.com

“I wont”, “I hate you mummy”, “I wont speak to you anymore”, “I want it, want it now, (a growing rage and tantrum usually caused by sheer frustration and usually in public). The frustration for the child could be anything AND is similar to the adult version…..which as we know also could be anything! but mainly the need for attention, to be “adored” a need to have the most friends/followers, the biggest birthday party, and “the want” of materialistic items etc. And a big red button which says cancel! This could be comical but it is not. This is all common sense 101.

Oh my gosh, that is a part description of the “terrible twos”

So I am truly, greatly, thankful, to the four men I have mentioned above plus dear Pier’s Morgan who have all put their true beliefs out there for the world to see. I admire them for doing so, while I, like so many others, also sharing their beliefs and of course, there will be some who may berate them, although I think they care less about that!

As I am not on Twitter (funny use of word!!) Instagram (instant gratification) and other messaging apps. please spread the word of these good men.

P.S. for P.C.s Sorry I only used the word Mummy but the other variables are sooo long winded, and I have not got all day. 🙄⁉

How Do We Stop The Bully?

adversa virtute repello even if I am in a wheelchair!!!

The child was a small 15 year old, her eyes stared at the camera, they were large brown eyes with complete and utter terror in them pleading silently for help.

The larger girl was 14 years, I could not hear anything as the video was silent, maybe I should have pushed the volume button, but I am glad I did not. You could see an arm flaying around, as if to hit the smaller child. Her mouth now opened wide.

This was posted in the public domain a few weeks ago. I was appalled, sick to my stomach, scared, furious and bewildered as to what causes this destructive behaviour and what could we do “help”. Of courses bullies have been part of the human history for as long as we can remember, but because of social media, a curse to us all, it is highlighted more. Just so you have the whole picture, this young girl went home and after saying hi to her mother, went to her bedroom and killed herself.

SO MANY QUESTIONS, SO MANY SOLUTIONS, ONE POSITIVE ACTION

So are the bullies acting out more for fame, power, or adulation? Or are they, maybe, being bullied themselves? Or are they watching an adult bully in their social or family group? Do they have low self-esteem? Well the list could go on and on, but what I do not understand is How we can allow this to keep on happening? Here is another question, How does this behaviour happen in a school yard, are there no “Playground Supervisor ” Prefects, or Teachers walking around? Do parents notice changes to their children’s emotions, eating habits, blue screen time, or is there no family time to eat and talk, or to flip the coin, and to ask advice from their children, if they themselves are being bullied at work.

The lists are endless, but we always come back to the main question why? Why in this day and age of finding answers on just about any subject you like, there are still bullies and the bullied? Of course bullies are not confined to the school yard, you see it in Old Age Homes, Retirement Villages, Offices and other Workplaces, in our homes, child bullies aged parent, Prisons, Hospitals, and so on

He Feels Nothingness, Despair, Loneliness & Fear

Yes, I hear you, what can one person do? Well, I won’t be one person, will I, as there will be others doing the same. It matters not, that I may not be able to stand to confront them, I can still interrupt a discourse of cruelty, even for a moment. And if we could stop one incident each, that would be the biggest achievement deserving of a bigger accolade than an Oscar! Please say you are with me on this, in any small way you can. Remember little actions can grow into amazing bastions of strength.

A VICTIMS CRY TO A BULLY

Why do you want to bully me?

Is it so I will flee?

Why do you hate me so?

You scream at me, you bellow.

Why can’t we talk this over?

Do you think I will be a pushover?

Let us find our common ground,

Far from your screaming hounds

When I look scared, do you think you have won?

When I say nothing, will you be done?

SueB. bloggerbarnes

UPDATE. MY BRAVE SISTER & A BULLY.

My last post was, in a way, to do with bullies. Bullies, of course, can be found in every aspect of life, any age group, ethnic culture, social situation, financial scale, educational abilities and so the list goes on. The cancel culture is one of the worse part of a bullies arsenal. Why do I think that? Simple really, it is because they suck others into their ring of cruelty, and get others to do the “dirty” work. It is a rare situation to find a bully working solo as they prefer to lead the pack. There are also the loud mouth bullies, and the emotional bullies, the ones that have all the privileges in the world, and yet they bitch and moan publicly about how hard done by they are. Those are more insidious than a rattlesnake.

In my last blog I did liken bullies as circling wolves. This is no disrespect to wolves, because their end need is to feed the pack. For the bullies, on the other hand, it is a lust for power, control, with a skewed sense of being popular.

So what can we do about this? How can we stop this behaviour?

Both questions are difficult to answer, as the answer lies in a personal desire to want to change situations around them, but it can be done. And because of social media, we have all become far more aware of the wrongs being committed, if not in our own circle of people, then definitely in the world.

Boudika – Wikicytaty
Boadicea

Last time I published my blog, which was about a fatal and tragic bullying incident, I had no idea how incredible brave my sister could be. I am well aware of her inner strength and what a quietly determined character she is. But I was in awe of what she told me, via Skype, 3 days after the blog was released.

While out walking in a secluded tree lined “alleyway”, she noticed, up ahead 3 young people coming towards her, two were walking and the other, a young boy, was being swung around in a windmill fashion, his head skimming the pathway! As they drew level with her she stopped and calmly said to the young child, “Are you alright?”. The small boy, having been put down/dropped by the much older boy, (late teens) looked at her and mumbled something but she could not make out what that was. As she straightened up the old boy stared at her in a very threatening way and screamed “Wot’s it to you?”

Menacingly, she said ……nothing, thats right, she didnt say a word, just a steely stare, with booted legs planted firmly to the hard ground and the chin defiantly jutting towards the bully,( although her heart was beating fast and furious and she did feel a tiny bit tizzy) With that the older boy turned on his heels and walked away, with the other two following him. She carried on walking, but took a quick look over her shoulder to see all three were still walking and no more “windmills.”

TREE LINED WALK

So my point is, although not all of us have Boadicea genes, she managed to defuse a situation, which could have had a very tragic ending, had his head met the ground. She saw the older teenager involved as having the potential of becoming an abuser or worse. They seemed to be on their own, as in no baying mob, and she had her long walking pole, if need be.

THE DANGERS OF SHOPPING IN A WHEELCHAIR.

Shopping is an obstacle pathway to test the ingenuity, strength, (mental and physical,) with a goodly amount of strategizing & forward planning for the wheelchair operator and partner.

And that is why I very rarely go shopping.

My mantra is “avoid stress if possible” well to be truthful I have a wardrobe full of mantras I can fall back on, depending on an array of situations, such as time of year, the situation or task presented to me to complete, people I may or may not want meet and so on.

So this little story is about Shopping.

In the beginning, (the beginning you will remember from blog 1 & 2,) and as I could now get into the aqua physio pool without incidents, (well except for the changing room funnies.) I did think as a reward for my hard work, a pleasant incident free morning out to our local shopping centre was in order.

This was about 10 months after leaving hospital. I had helped hubby no end as I had progressed from the transfer board, to my self-designed gymnastics to get in and out of car. That is one reason I always wear trousers!

So, car, chair, lift down to the shops, yeah, we had arrived down to the ….to a ghost town of sorts. Monday morning shopping is a good time. Not a person to be seen, except the shop serving personal, *oops I hope that was woke enough*.

They all looked bored or expectantly as I sailed passed their shops. Sailed is not quite the right adjective to use, as it was more huffed and puffed, (which are verbs) pass the shops!

I zoomed into the shop I had always enjoyed; it was then that I realised how different things are from down here. Please refer to the opening photo, do you see how high the clothes are?

The isles between the clothes racks are nanoscopic, I almost felt claustrophobic, but I bravely wheeled on.

It was a maze, I could hear my husband calling my name, but very faintly, as all these clothes dulled the sound’s, I waved but unsure if he saw my arm, would it be long enough to be seen over these racks?

Now I can see the shirt I had risked my life for and all I had to do was get it down from the rail which was too high for even a non-wheelchair person in 8“ heels.

Calls of “anyone there? I need help please“ was falling way off the mark, but at that point hubby appeared round the corner. He was on his tippy toes sorting through the tops only to say sorry they do not have your size.

This cheered me up no end, as I as it came as no surprise to me that my size was not available, as it very rarely is.

I was near exhausted as we exited the shop hubby said he would push me. (silly me to allow that)

 His spatial awareness is limited as he has a cataract, but what could go wrong? We are now going shopping in a Hypermarket with wide isles, good lighting, and some shelves within easy reach.🛒🛒🛒🛒

Going to Hypermarkets is usually to do a bit of bulk buying, not to buy 2 tins of baked beans, it is for that reason that the trolleys are so enormous and therefore unwieldly, stupid little wheels that have never been oiled or serviced since they were made.

It is rather like having a Mini’s wheels on a dumper truck, you just know this is going to end badly.

Still, high hopes, this is, after all, supposed to be an enjoyable day out shopping.

I had always enjoyed driving, but navigating this enormous trolley around isle ends, similar to a blind corner, was difficult to say the least. Especially as I could not see over the steering bar.👀

 Also, remember, hubby could not see round the corners as he was way back.  

Luckily, I did not get hurt when we knocked over a stack of Teddy Bears, or the Cup¬Of¬Soup`s as it was only cardboard packaging.

But when I saw the forklift bearing down on me with stacks of washing powder on board, I did feel it was time to call a halt to the days` festivity.

HERE IT COMES!

And that is how I met Nkosi.

My hubby was beside himself with frustration, so took the trolley away from me and strode off.

Please know it is not possible to spin a wheelchair around unless the wheelchair is designed for off-road acrobatics. But no worries, as a hunky young man dropped down beside me and asked if he could help in any way.

Now, if a piece of delicious eye candy offers help, what is a girl/old girl to do?👩‍🦽

The only thing possible, accept his offer graciously, try not to show your absolute excitement, and do try to be demure.

Something I have never mastered. Lesson 1  How to start a conversation with a stranger, who is pushing your wheelchair, while looking at the back of your head?

Lamely, I said, I am sure I have seen you at the Gym. That broke the ice as he laughed out loud & I noticed people staring.

LAUGHING OUT LOUD

After he had composed himself, he told me that he was lucky not to have to go to gym as he gets enough workout’s in his job. His job, it transpires, is a swimming coach for children, the elderly, and disabled. WOW, wow, and double wow!

By this time, we had slowly ambled through the Hypermarket and arrived at the computer section, which my hubby would know that is where I would go, so no surprise to see him waiting for me, with his bulk shopping done! He duly thanked my “chauffeur” for putting up with me, said our goodbyes and “hope to see you agains”.

As we drove home, I thought what a brilliant day it turned out to be, it is the little things I so appreciate and the bad things I have learnt to shrug off, like that very rude woman in the restaurant a few weeks ago. She was staring at me all the time, so I stare back, she then accosted me and said, “what are you staring at?” how charming was that!! After the days adventures the thought crossed my mind that maybe I should “become” motorized.

BOYS & MEN

Who listen to a boy cry? Who cares if a man cries? Nobody, why?

A Boy Soon To Be A Man

Why do I wear this cloak of silent strength?

Because you keep me at arm’s length.

I will soon be a man for you to love,

And keep you safe, like a little dove.

But I too have great deep feelings,

As I wonder at the world’s dealings.

Good or bad they are here to stay

But I will never be far away,

Man or boy we are allowed to cry

And that I cannot, will not deny.

I earn your respect, as you earn mine,

It may not  be easy or perfectly fine.

But we’ll work as a team, I promise you that,

But please, don’t ever say I am a stupid prat.

Give me space to think things through.

I will find a way to start anew,

Talk, don’t scream or hurl abuse,

What good is that? what is the use?

Man or boy we are thought to be strong,

But that conception is so very wrong.

Man or boy we hate rejection,

Like you, we desire protection.

I will share your love of shoes,

As you may listen to my views.

Together we will learn to grow

As we transverse the highs and lows

And that is what it is all about,

Without a shadow of doubt.

I understand we do need both ..emotions & common sense

But please remember, I grew up in the “past tense,”

I am not an urban man as yet, but give me time

This will be a very big mountain to climb.

Let’s share the mirror to say, “I love you”.

Oh my goodness, this all so very new.

As I have now exposed my inner soul

It’s like I have given away my “control”.

Not, control, what sort of a word is that.

It makes me sound like a pathetic brat.

I have so much to share on who I am,

This is so difficult, more like an exam.

Boys and men are the same as you

They have emotions, & feelings too,

But time is a healer of all things human

So, wait, don’t let us go to rack & ruin.

Growing up we were surrounded by violence,

I am nearing the end and seek gentle silence.

I have no respect for a man who hits a woman,

I have no respect for a woman who hits a man,

Did that surprise you? Not all men are violent,

But there is great strength in being silent

And at last we will understand the theme,

We are now a team, no we are THE TEAM.

When people don’t win they “cancel”. The “cancel culture”, what is that?  It is cruel. Like the baying of wolves, the circling of sharks, and the same as the bullies in the schoolyard. Have compassion, stand beside & protect those being bullied.

MARTY

the honeypot of life!

Wanting to send words of love, friendship & healing,

To our Friend Marty, who is searching for meaning,

She’s read all the books on positive thoughts,

While drinking her iced vodka & creamy shots.

She shared her story with all of us folk.

And once in a while cracked a joke.

So, here’s to you in love, friendship & healing,

Can’t wait to see your pretty face smiling & beaming!

              Sue B.  19th April 2021

WHAT HAVE I LEARNT AS A WOMAN?

My dear grand daughter (25yrs)asked me

To Share With Her What I Have Learnt As A Woman?

So Here Goes!

 Firstly, know I am a wrinkly 73 year old

But the luckiest woman in the world,

Which I knew, as the newspaper unfurled,

As the stories in there will break your heart,

But if you can change it…then please …go start.

Striving For More

Knowing my limitations but striving for more,

One step at a time for a really good score.

We don’t need to join some hash-tag group,

Like the girls that run as a singular troop,

 Or delve into our sacred subconscious                        

Causing us to become overly anxious. 

We also don’t need to be greedily envious,

Rather be kind and somewhat generous.

Although we are strong,

We are sometimes wrong,

My Angel

We therefore need time for reflection,

Listen to your Angels, ask for protection.                            

Accepting our spirituality, in all forms it takes,

Don’t listen to rejections, for heaven sakes!

By talking and listening to all younger people,

Listen To The Young!

It lays the ground for a very strong steeple,

Because, you must know, they have much to give,

They help me to understand….my life to relive,

SO, what have I learnt as a woman?

Well, I don’t need to compete with a man,

 As I have all the Strength to succeed,

On that we surely are all agreed.

To accept or try change my faults,

Before I head for the gloomy vaults.

To keep on trying until I get it right

To use my wit’s rather than fight,

Be truly thankful there are good men,

Who help women, again and again.

You are not weak when they open the door,

Just remember, they are here forevermore!

And, as no one said life would be fair,

We have no reason for despair.

You have, what you have, as that is your path.

So, no use complaining or starting a wrath.

Try to enjoy every glorious minute of being alive,

That way, you will do so much more than survive.                      

Look in your mirror and say,…..”I love you“,

As that is the start to cementing your glue,    

But if you don’t say it…then who will?

listen to your heartbeat..

Listen to your heartbeat, by keeping still,

As that is the rhythm, your life may take,

Your are a true women, no…not ever a fake

Sue Barnes 2018 July Woman’s Month for my Grand Daughter





MY FRIST SESSION IN THE AQUA-PHYSIO POOL. MERMAID OR MANATEE!

After I had crawled to my  wheelchair, in Alex’s practice rooms, and successfully climbed into it, she looked as pleased as “punch”. I, on the hand, looked & felt like I just completed my first marathon. Alex said ..”there was now a long road of practice, practice,” and guess what? Yes more practice.

I remarked that I wished I could swim rather, as I have always enjoyed splashing around in water.   And that is how Bob & I learnt about a small pool about 8 meters by 15 meters in the very same hospital where my new life had started.

Bob took me there a few days later and we learnt there is a procedure, & assessments which all people, wanting to use the pool, are required to go through. You cannot just jump in (not possible for me at this point anyway) and off you go, protocol’s.

There is a physio assigned to you, who will assess your abilities such as balance, core strength, determination, and I suspect a willingness to listen!

This could be fun, I thought to myself, and after she had asked me to complete a few challenging exercises, she felt I would definitely benefit from Aqua-Physio.

My new physio’s name was Kayleigh, she looked so young and so petite, this of course worried me a little, as still being “the blob”, I did wonder how on earth she would “manage” me in to pool?

Getting into the Pool, was Scary, with Nervous Giggles from me!

The HOW, I was going to get in and out, is best seen in this picture (from Pinterest.) (which I have no idea how insert I have been trying all afternoon) so this was my effort

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ducking-chair.png

But I did not wear the dress or hat! The contraption squeaked & groaned loudly, it was also awfully slow, no electronics here just human endeavour. Kayleigh’s  actually.

It was the most frightening journey I have ever made, except of course flying.

AS my toes felt the water, I started to breathe again, not long now, I thought. But it stopped with a terrible juddering, suddenly I see Kayleigh standing in front of me in the water. How nice, I thought, & then… but who is at the controls of this monstrous machine? Because I don’t see myself swan diving the rest of the way down into the pool.

So, who was at the helm, of this wretched chair? Yes, of course my dear husband, he was there in body, with his hands on the handle, but no driving license.

This may end up in tears, I thought. I held my breath expecting to be well and truly dunked into the  water, the temperature of which was unknown to me at this point.

But on this occasion Bob did exceedingly well, his expression said it all,.. “a piece of cake, my dear,” and I slowly descended the last few meters into the surprisingly warm water, oh what heaven, I wished I had brought my soap-on-a-rope! You will understand that since the 23rd of June 2017 I had not been in a bath, well I had, but that was a complete disaster, a blog left for a different time. I had many bed baths, at the beginning, and now showers.

As I was helped out of the chair, Kayleigh had to prise my fingers off the armrest, it felt other-worldly as I felt weightless, my legs began to do as I asked of them, albeit slowly and wobbly. Kayleigh had wrapped a water noodle under my arms and steered me to the side of the pool to hold on the safety rail.

So started the beginning of a 3-week (2 sessions per week) stint of learning to balance, walk, squats, and climbing out of the pool via the steps, which happened quicker than she expected and I explained, out of all the lessons I had to practise, climbing those steps was at the top of my list, because the indignity and sheer terror of THE CHAIR was all the motivation I needed.

Once Kayleigh was happy with the progress and determination I had shown, she no longer came into the water, with me, rather sitting watching from the side of the pool; and no doubt gossiping with Bob. A short time after this victory, Kayleigh was assigned to a different branch. That meant a another physio and another assessment. After that evaluation, I was given an all clear to come and go as I pleased at the pool.

What a fantastic time those 2 years were, we met the most amazing people each week at the pool, one especially comes to mind, I always called her “My Angel”, she was about 11-12 years old when we met, she is a special child born with Cerebral Palsy, in the beginning she would just stare at me through the window while waiting for her physio, but as time went on she would wave back at me, smiling. Then one day she said to me, “Hello Angel” I was so touched and incredibly pleased, especially when she blew kisses to me.

AND THEN ALONG CAME COVID-19!

Barney & Maggie

a short story of loyalty and unconditional love.

                                                              Maggie the Scotty with her brother Barney. These two little ruffians just happened into our lives. But they have been with me every step of the way. They even had a sneaked visitation to the Hospital, they sat outside the window staring in, when suddenly the penny dropped, with me calling and waving, they looked straight into my eyes,…have you have seen surprise, shock and terror on a dogs face? They turned around to Bob and Michie, and I thought they were going to make a run for it but they didn’t, nevertheless, we now have the pair of them squealing and scratching at the window in absolute delirious excitement. Lucky I was still in the isolation room so no nurse’s around. But  still, it is something that has stayed with me and, silly as it might sound, stayed with them, especially Barney as I can’t  go anywhere and I do mean ANYWHERE, without him leading the way.  Maggie is also  loyal, especially when she hears the rustle of paper or a knife on the chopping board as that is a sign of food!  I tell this little story as I am amazed how truly special these dogs are, we got them both from rescue places but different ones and about 18 months apart. Then 18 months later we moved to a much smaller house and garden…its called down-sizing. Then a year after that, almost to the day, is when I started the 18 week stay away, so yes I am impressed they remembered me.

AMAZING ALEX AND THE GANG-PLANK TO FREEDOM

So, to visualize the Amazing Alex think of young, blonde, blue/green eyes, tallish, with a ready smile and a way of encouraging you/me for the slightest new or extra movement completed!   She was also stronger than she looked. Well, she had to be…remember, I am, at this time, the blob.

Alex started by teaching my husband, Bob, the safest way (for him and me) to move me around. It was the funniest thing, especially when we started with the transfer board.

It is the gangplank to freedom, but a tad undignified, the bed is higher than the wheelchair and the whole point is to slide regally down the board and plop into the Wheelchair.

Well, that is if the board is highly polished or lacquered, sadly it was not, as it was a ridiculously small plank from the timber yard, call it rustic, so there were splinters a plenty and because of that, there was no regal entry to the Wheelchair. It was more bumpety, bumpety, bumpety, caused by Bob yanking the back of the pyjamas in an up/down movement, shouting “move along everyone” As I said earlier, laughter all the way, and the occasional scream of fear when I heard the PJ’s tear.

Going down was getting easier but going up had a different set of challenges.

Of course, the other lesson was the knee-to-knee configuration, a stunning movement in ice-skating with startling results; on dry land though, it is a totally different kettle of fish!

Later that day there’s Bob, slightly red in face, but looking pleased with himself, as he had conquered the knee-to-knee dance with me, he looked at me with a big grin and then flipping let me go! (this happen before a lesson called RECOVERING FROM THE FALL)

Bless, I think he had forgotten my legs did not work, I never got to ask him why he let me go, because he had shot out of the room and then the house to find someone to help with the big heave-ho.

So, getting back to Alex, she came three times a week to begin with and it seems now looking back, that in no time I graduated from bed work (building core muscles) to standing, balancing holding on to something, (which you would have thought this Retirement Village, we had moved to, would have handles galore BUT no, you want handles then you put them up yourselves) and then my first tentative steps with the walker.

The lesson on how to get into and out of a car was repeated quite a few times with the gang-plank and once a neighbour came to help, without us even asking, that was nice.  Who would have thought it would take 3 adults to push pull and bumpety bump one adult into a car?   The question being, why do I need to get into a car in the first place? As I had no desire to go to the shops or anywhere else, but you see Alex had a scheme, which she had not shared with me yet.

By the way, I was/am still reliving the escapades I had under pethidine, when I closed my eyes at night the same sights and sounds come flooding back, but now I can control them, which certainly gave me hope that I was not barking mad, but a madness I enjoyed with my parameter’s and my goals.

So those of you hissing “she is a control freak” well yes, I suppose I was but if I did not have control and share the control, how would I have progressed beyond the beginning?

One of my granddaughters, Michie, moved in with Bob after about the first month to 6 weeks of my being in hospital. She was a great source of love and companionship to Bob, but at that stage she was not really into cooking, so Bob did the cooking which was good because if he had been on his own, he probably would not have cooked. The mystical age of 24, why indeed should she cook.

When I came home, Michie stayed on and it was a pleasure, as every evening after she finished work she would come home but I would be in bed, (Bob use to put me away at about 4pm!)

Michie would lay on the bed beside me, telling me about her day at work, the friends she had seen that day and small bits of gossip. It was a great way to connect with another generation, to understand how they saw the world, she also wanted to know about my age group, their wants, and aspirations, so we learnt from each other.  How privileged I felt that not only did she share her time with me but shared her thoughts and aspirations.

And when she suggested I write a poem for Women’s Day celebrations for her charity, Swan Shine, I felt proud and humbled that she would think I had something to offer. But I enjoyed writing the poem and by what she told me, the young teenage ladies from Soweto enjoyed it too.

Every evening she would massage my feet and back with the CBD oil that her mother made, now that was bliss. Each morning she would help to dress me and brush my hair, I could see she was tense when doing this, but a few days later the truth did come out, my hair was falling out in clumps, it’s the medication, not to worry, but she was so upset. I started using a brilliant shampoo soon after, now my hairdresser can not believe the growth and condition now. (if you want to know the name drop me an email)

ALEX’S SCHEME IS REVEALED

Alex’s scheme was to get me to go to her practice rooms, by doing so, I had to get in and out of the car, that was good exercise and once confident enough, walk with a walking aid; but until then it was the rustic board change over! And you remember what I thought that little malarkey!

Oh, but the worse little game she wanted/needed me to play was the fall. I mean really, what was going on in her mind, but has it turned out something particularly useful.

We had started this at home and the trick is ….oops I fall, so now sit on 2 books, then move across to the step-up step, then to a foot stool and so on until I had reached my goal of getting into my wheelchair.

Sounds so quick and easy, no stress there then… and in the comfort of my home the plan came together and was executed in under 40 mins, (37 min. actually) But that was because Alex had arranged all the equipment needed in a circle, and Bob was there to do the occasional bumpety bump holding on to the back of my trousers.

But when the real fall happened 2 months later it was a different story. Isn’t it peculiar how an important lesson can dissolve into “mush”, never to be retrieved from our brains when it is needed?

So there I am on the floor, scream like a banshee for Bob, as he comes in the room those beautiful blue eyes 👀 looking terrified, “Haven’t I asked you to be careful, walk slowly, you know you have a dropped foot,”     So now the hunt was on, the books, the step-up thingy,  the footstool, the bigger footstool etc. He was rushing around collecting, discarding with a lot of muttering, like his life depended on it, which of course it did!

I never quite understood why he asked me……” What books should we use?”

Long story short, an hour and 17 mins later after laughter and tears, I was in my chair with a new determination of “never again”, and a glass of wine to steady the nerves!

So, we decided to come clean with Alex and tell her what miserable failures we were, and we could almost see her mind going, aha, but she said right away “I have a good exercise today for you, now easy-peasy slide out of the chair on to the floor, turn on to your stomach.”  What, no this is not right, I thought.

Alex moved my chair to the other end of the room; the small room thank goodness. “Now as quick as you like leopard crawl to the chair” she said but with her eyes twinkling.

I did it! Although not quickly, the floor was ridiculously hard to sensitive nerve endings, but I DID IT!

How did it Start?

Lying in my very uncomfortable hospital bed, ( a nurse told me it was a broken spring) it did occur to me that most things happen for a reason, but for the life of me I couldn’t think what that might be, yet.

An operation had been needed on 3 vertebra in the lumber region of the spine, which by all accounts had gone wrong. It was now 8 ops later, plus 6 MRI’s, a stint on life-support for 3 weeks, gangrene and lets not forgot the super-bug, but I am still alive and thank goodness the brain still working.

It must have been around the tenth week, when that I had that thought, of things happening for a reason, because up until then, I was floating in and out of consciousness. High on pethidine, so I was “meeting” long gone relatives, going to exotic islands, planning my escape from this place, which sometimes was a prison and sometimes a home for the mentally challenged, which at that point I probably was! We all have those moments….don’t we?

One of the best “strange event’s” was when the Nurses Station turned into a Night Club or meeting place, lights, music, people….and yet a few moments later it was the nurses station again. Oh yes and then there was that strange black tent in the middle of a field, it was shaped like a Teepee tent. So let’s be honest, we have all had those fleeting visions of a different “world”. Be it one too many headache pills, one too many drinks or your first splif. I have lived for 75 years, so shocked I am not. Most of the time, I think I was enjoying every moment. But not so for my family.

My poor family, after weeks of visiting an inert person, they now had to listen to my whispering demands that they should get the police to break me out of “here”, that I had devised an escape route. Insisting that the bed would easily roll down the stairs, through the doors to the sea. Which, at that time I was positive it was the Irish Sea, even though I am actually 700 kilometre’s from the nearest ocean and a single storey hospital! Anyway, enough of that, the 10 weeks turned into 18 weeks, and only then did I come home, even though the Doctor’s were reluctant but I am pretty sure the Nurses and Carers rejoiced.

Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you, I could no longer do anything for myself, I could not walk or comb my hair, which was falling out by the handful, because 10 weeks of anti-biotics’ are not good for the hair. I was a large blob propped up in bed with about six pillows and a pyramid thing at the bottom of the bed. Well, this will not do I really have to organise myself, so that is how I met the Amazing Alex, she was the only physio who would do home visits.

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