1 EAGLETON NOTES: September 2018



Sunday 30 September 2018

Five Minutes

Everyone, except the young (which is, I admit, quite a lot of the world's population) knows that as one gets older time speeds up. For all sorts of reasons this has been in my mind a lot recently. 

It's not that long ago that I was celebrating my fiftieth birthday in this house with a partner (no, YP, not a wife) with a settled and potentially 'boring' lifestyle ahead. It all felt pretty good to me. 

Even in my wildest dreams I could not have imagined how my life would alter. 

Next year I shall be 75 (DV, NP).

I was stirring a paella recently. "Stir constantly until the water has been absorbed." I think that's what one is supposed to do. So, to keep myself from total mental shutdown, I decided to think about time.

How long is five minutes?

If you are running to get to the airport gate and you are six minutes away, five minutes go so fast you wouldn't believe it.

If you are running out of time in an exam five minutes is no time at all.

If you are waiting for an egg to boil then it's five minutes.

If you are stirring a paella it's long enough to get bored.

If you are waiting for the train or a bus in a downpour with no shelter it seems like an interminable age.

Of course all that translates, the necessary changes being made, to 5 weeks, months, years, decades and so on.

I'll leave you with the 'modern'* version of 'Time's Paces'
When I was a babe and wept and slept,
Time crept;
When I was a boy and laughed and talked,
Time walked.
Then when the years saw me a man,
Time ran.
But as I older grew,
Time flew.
Soon, as I journey on,
I'll find time gone.
May Christ have saved my soul, by then

* Guy Pentreath (1902–1985)

Wednesday 19 September 2018

Paying Taxes

I usually avoid any sort of confrontational post and this is not meant to be either confrontational nor controversial. However  I have always had an aversion to injustice. So when the Archbishop of Canterbury criticised the big companies (singling out Amazon) for not paying tax and called for the abolition of zero hours contracts for workers, I agreed with him and thought nothing further of it.

Then a lot of criticism arose because the church invests some of its £8 billion of investments in Amazon. According to The Financial Times, the Church of England fund has become the top world performer  with a return on assets of 17.1% boosted by investment in global equities and private equity. The Church also uses zero hours contracts.

Then whist considering the criticisms and trying to justify to a friend what the Archbishop had said it suddenly occurred to me that the Church doesn't pay tax either. It is exempt. 

Amazon acts within the law (whether one likes the law or not) as does the Church (whether one likes the law or not). 

Perhaps when the Government finds a way of making companies like Amazon pay tax it should also remove the exemption for the Church.

Saturday 15 September 2018

Just Saying...

I went into town today. The Christmas cards are out. I'm told that the mainland Garden Centres have all their Christmas stock out. 

I've made two of my Christmas cakes. Only four to go. 

Looking on the bright side there's only 96 days and it will be the shortest day and the days will start getting longer again. I realise that that doesn't work for my readers in the Southern Hemisphere. Sorry about that. 

All this is strange in that my 'summer holidays' won't happen for another three weeks when I 'go South' to see my brother and sister-in-law.


Wednesday 12 September 2018

You Should see The Other Bloke

A couple of months ago I was diagnosed with a carcinoma on my nose and a melanoma or two on my forehead.  This morning the consultant surgeon who removed the squamous carcinoma on my neck four years ago removed the nose lump and grafted skin from my neck to repair the hole.  The amount of damage on my forehead was such that she removed various bits so that they could be sent to the pathologist for analysis. 

I have to say that the whole operation was quite amazing. I had read some while ago that the anaesthetising of the nose was a deeply unpleasant experience so, whilst I wasn't concerned about the operations themselves, I was dreading the anaesthetic. As it was there was less discomfort from that than from the average taking of blood from one's arm and, as you will know, that is a pretty okay event.  So all in all there was no pain or discomfort and I haven't even had to take a paracetamol since the anaesthetic wore off. 

The nursing care was a mixture of efficient professionalism, comforting reassurance and light-hearted banter helped by the fact that one of the nurses had looked after me when I had my first bout of sepsis. 

My plans to go South and stay with my brother and sister-in-law have been thrown into the dustbin because my stitches will not come out for two weeks by which time it will almost be time for my Cancer Trial Review in Glasgow.  So I have re-scheduled the visit to October when, hopefully, there will be no obstacles to a relaxing time away.

Anyway the Good News is that I've been told not to undertake any strenuous work for the next week or two. Seems a bit unnecessary to me but I'm not going to argue. Hopefully I will be spending more time sorting my photos and catching up in Blogland.

Sunday 9 September 2018

Twelve Months On

I cannot believe that it was twelve months ago today that I received the phone call from a surgeon at  Ayr Hospital telling me that I had a kidney stone blocking the exit to my right kidney and that he wanted me to return to hospital immediately (fortunately I was in Glasgow an hour's drive away) and have the stone removed.

Since then I've had 10 hospital admissions related to problems caused by the kidney stone (including four admissions related to sepsis). Of course it's not as simple as that because most of the problems have arisen because of damage caused by radiotherapy in 2009.

Add to that all the hospital visits relating to the cancer treatment and the Drugs Trial I'm on and I must have spent a decent part of the last year at medical appointments of one sort or another.

Anyway my hospital visits, per se, is not really the point of this post because, despite all the hospital etc visits, I feel as fit and healthy as any person my age and am able to live a very full and active life. For this I never cease to be thankful.

At a time of criticism of the NHS I just want, for the umpteenth time, to sing its praises and, of course, praise the wonderful people who work in it.

My pal Anna was up from Bishopbriggs for a few days and we had (as always) a very enjoyable time. As it happens the weather on two out of the three days were also glorious so we went for a walk in the Castle Grounds. It was Saturday morning and all the mountain bikers, walkers and even some less usual modes of transport were out and about. We had a gentle 3 mile walk and it was glorious.

At home the garden is well past its summer best but there is still quite a bit of colour in the Crocosmia, Mombretia (the original or naturalised Crocosmia) Japanese Anenomes, Livingstone Daisies and the Lavatera.

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Peaty Odds And Ends

Arising from the Peat Posts, Monica asked whether I had any pictures of the peats being burned. The answer lies in this photo of a fire in an original Black House at Arnol.

Another point that I was reminded about was the fact that before the peats were brought home by tractor and lorry the women often brought them home on their backs in creels. So that the time wasn't wasted (and as an early example of women multi-tasking) they also knitted whilst they were walking.

Coll Pottery (about which I have many times promised to blog) also produced models of the Peat Ladies as they were called. This is a photo I took many moons ago.

Saturday 1 September 2018

Saturday Something

Walking along the main road in Callander recently, one of the group suddenly asked if we could spot what was wrong with this sign. I have to admit that I didn't get it instantly.