Gearing up today for the bank holiday weekend. Mayday is always the time of our local annual village fete, the Cuckoo Fair. It is billed as this twee country affair, yet in reality is somewhat larger and less personal. Lots of traders who will spend the summer months going from fete to fete, lots of fast-food stalls which leave you wishing you hadn’t bothered…. When we first came to the village, it was an occasion we marked in our diaries, but this has waned over the years. even before the stroke, to the point where these days I actively avoid it. Our sleepy village of 5,000 inhabitants, swells to 25,000 for the day, they close the main road and parking is generally a nightmare!
I’m not sure if my wife feels the same as I do, but certainly this year has made other plans. She is away for the weekend in the lovely Lyme Regis, some craft course or other.
My daughter, however, still likes such occasions, and has said that she will visit for the weekend. I suppose it is also an opportunity for her to see the mates she left behind when she went into care, although we don’t need particularly good memories to remember all the times, before she left, when she would complain that she had no friends. So as you can tell, there is still contact between me and my daughter, although in reality most of her contact is with my wife – I guess a mother’s love really is unconditional!
But on these occasions when she does visit, they are invariably non-confrontational, mainly because we are both quite reserved with each other, and avoid contentious subjects. But all a far cry from when she claimed to be fearful of being in the same house as me. My wife is only away Saturday and Sunday, so we may even all go out for a coffee on the bank holiday!
It has been quite an uneventful week. Tuesday, I had an appointment at the Eye Clinic (“maybe some swelling in your eye but far too early to say for sure. Let’s keep an eye on it.”), then took the opportunity of being up at the hospital to do a drop-in visit. The visit ended up being monopolised by just a couple of people, not that that’s a problem, just that I was on the ward quite a long time.
A guy I chatted to was obviously eyeing going home, and he was asking me about benefits etc. – the kinds of things that become important once you get out. I chatted to a woman who thought that the Stroke Association should lay on a bus service to the local supermarket, a great idea but I’m not sure she realised just how thin on the ground resources are. As for liability insurance…nightmare!
On that subject, I had a mail from Age UK last week. Same old story unfortunately – some local council funding finished at the end of March, not renewed, so the knock-on effect is of redundancies. I mean, all of these charities are mindful of their volunteers, and are trying to keep things as “same” as possible, so fingers crossed. The trouble is, if you’re a charity, I don’t see how you can put a volunteer in charge of anything which carries real responsibility – a volunteer could say “I’m sorry, but I need to do X tomorrow, so I’ll be unable to volunteer”, and that’s perfectly valid. But I’d have thought that for a critical role, you’d need a higher level of committment. Maybe “committment” is the wrong word to use in this scenario : I certainly don’t mean to suggest that volunteers aren’t committed.
On the subject of volunteering, apparently my daughter has started doing some. For both of us, I suppose, it is a means to an end. Neither of us particularly see it as a permanent thing. For me, it is about doing something useful while I am building my strength up enough to get back into work; for her, well, her CV is empty right now, so it shows that she’s not happy just to be idle. I mean, in my case, I’d love to volunteer and work at the same time, if that’s possible.