Morning Light


On Sunday mornings when Aaron is due to come, I nip down to the five-barred gate at the end of the back drive to open it so he can drive his vehicle in.

This morning there was no nipping, because I was bewitched by the light.

Our treasured help performed a variety of tasks today. He painted metal chairs, mended a wooden one that had been smashed by the autumn winds, and weeded more paths.

This afternoon we are visiting The First Gallery, visiting my mother, and going out for a meal  with Elizabeth in the evening. It may be that we take Mum with us for the meal. The reason for this is that her domiciliary care has, like everyone else’s, been privatised. This means that it is undertaken by contracted firms whose main object is to make money. The result is rushed and unreliable schedules subject to inconvenient alterations, with or without a warning telephone call.

Mum needs help to get up and shower and to settle herself down for bed. Elizabeth does most other things for her. Today she was informed that the morning visit would be late and the evening early. This could mean starting well after 10 a.m. and finishing well before 6 p.m. In the circumstances Mum cancelled the evening call, so we will come into play. I will report on this tomorrow.

Those who are unaware of the welfare systems here may not know that we have no choice but to have National Insurance contributions deducted from our earnings, and that Local Authorities can keep none of the promises about receiving care free of charge ‘at the point of service’ ‘from the cradle to the grave’. Jackie’s Social Work colleagues from abroad had to have her explain to them why it was that elderly people wondered why they had to pay for these inadequate services. There is much current debate about injecting more money. That will make not the slightest difference because, like so many of our services, the destruction, in the name of Mammon, has already happened.


  1. Thank you for explaining that. Here in the US we are quite ignorant of healthcare systems in other countries – we just complain here about how much everything costs and how much better it is in other nations’ systems..
    I hope you all have a wonderful visit and Sunday dinner.

  2. The pathways and lighting in so many of your thumbnail photos are very magical, Derrick. The fun of getting different angles and photos has been one I have been enjoying from the light which is brilliant to the dappled one, all in the range of cameras and beauty in the eye of the beholder.
    My family believes in some support of people of all ages but gets dismayed at the trickle down method it gets to those who need it so much. My Dad was raised poor and worked long hours from age 11 onward but his mother was frail and Dad in a Veteran’s Home. He would hitchhike to a state where child labor laws were non-existent. Still he would say “A society who doesn’t support “the least of us” is not worthy of our support.” Meaning we don’t help the aged, special needs and families of veterans. We are considered Democrats but are appalled at the new President repealing Planned Parenthood. It supports condoms, the Pill but also gave me reduced Pap Smears and other things while I was raising my kids and childcare should have cost me more than what I could make babysitting. That being said, I always made payments for dental care and doctor’s bills. Never filled out welfare papers. We learned to trade for haircuts and my RC A Victrola to be repaired. I cleaned houses with kids trailing me. 🙂

  3. Those images hold boundless promises for the day.

    The aching beauty of some of the mornings can transfix you, as can some of the man-made machinations like health care. If Alexander Fleming were to to discover penicillin today, I am sure each shot would cost upwards of $1000 or so. Oncology and cardiac medicine is already a mafia, and so is the care of the elderly.

  4. Oh my that garden is beautiful. I can see why you stayed to capture that light. Goodness, what a thing to have to deal with for your mother! We here just know that everything will be expensive and have an unrealistic view of benefits in UK and Canada, I think. Healthcare–and help–can be problematic anywhere, but I think I would be very disappointed to expect it and have it pulled. I hope things work out!

  5. Derrick, Thank you for the British health care system information. I often wonder why politicians don’t look at models that do work on the planet and then use that model. It does seem like they don’t care because most politicians are under an insurance system that eliminates them from this problem. Many clinics here are now working under a network system, where in patients have to go to the networks hospital, the network doctors, the network specialists. This has led to a captive audience situation as some patients are forced to rely on doctors who are quite frankly not very good doctors. Everyone must have a General Practitioner who jus direct patients to other doctors in the network increasing costs and is a waste of time, as far as I’m concerned. Some networks are good and some are not so good. I stepped on a piece of glass and was sent to see three different specialists, one who tried to sell me orthopedic shoes. The fourth specialist took the tiny piece of glass out but it was a fight. The whole thing cost around 600.00. I didn’t buy the shoes.
    It is particularly annoying to see your Mum a recipient of such nonsense.

    1. Thanks very much, Ginene. I’ve just fished your comment out of the Spam. I hope you got the Facebook message thanking you for our treasured vase which arrived a couple of days ago. Even that one cost a lot in postage. The lady will be much used.

  6. The care our elders receive really reflects on our values. In the US, it’s all privatized and there’s no guarantee you’ll even qualify for care.

  7. Some of your early morning shots are quite magical Derrick, then you quickly brought me down to earth with the reminder that your health system has gone to the dogs! Ours is still functional, but only just.

  8. When I had my triple heart bypass the school expected me back at work in 3 days – which I was! Either the hospital’s operation method had improved or the health care system was down the plughole! Good on your Mum for cancelling the early evening/late afternoon visitation by the money-grubbing, soul-sucking, grossly irresponsible, negligent baskets.

  9. Your photographs are stunning, Derrick. Thank you for sharing them with us.
    I never understood why governments believe throwing more money at a problem will make it go away. Someone needs to have the brains to manage it.

  10. Beautiful morning light and shadows Derrick – a wonderful scene filled with nuggets of treasures. I can totally understand what your family is going through with elder care and the National Health Insurance debacle. We are dealing with my elderly parents, sisters and myself that live 1,000+ miles away and not being assured of the help they-we need. Thus I’m not on blog world as much as I’d like, the situation has reached a critical point. Hope your Mum and family get the assistance you guys relied on.

  11. Wonderful morning pictures, Derrick. My regards to your mum. Here also, we have to depend on private help to look after the elderly. But, still, in many Indian families, the elderly parents reside with their children and their families. While this is advantageous in many ways, sometimes create big problems.

  12. Beautiful lighting and garden photos, Derrick.

    All the best to your mother. The whole health care system is complicated, and seems better in some places than others around the world. I’ve been through crises with and without insurance, have kept good records of the costs and assorted issues, and invited my representatives to discuss the data I’ve collected on myself for over 10 years as to what is helpful and what is not. No takers, not even their staffers, to date. 🙂 Good luck over there!

  13. I can see why you were bewitched by the light. (A wonderful phrase, by the way.) The garden and sunlight are lovely–I feel like I’m there from the photos.
    I’m sorry about your mom. I hope you had a good dinner with her. I imagine she’s happy to get out. We’re worried about my mom’s care, too, and how she will keep paying for where she is now.

  14. Very nice photos. I am sad to hear about your mother, but am not too surprised about the lack and/or poor quality of service. It is the case in so many countries, and, to be honest, I do not believe that free health care exist in many countries. It certainly does not exist in NZ, although it is better than some other countries.

  15. My 97 year old Mum is in Sydney Australia an a home. My sister lives nearby. We have to give up my mother’s estate to pay for it. At least I know she gets good care because they want to keep her alive so they can milk her for all she is worth. Here in the USA I have no money for that so I hope I die before I need a nursing home. Once in one here that usually happens fast if you have no money.
    I love your garden.

  16. What restorative and rejuvenating views of your garden. Much needed. Although spring has crept a little closer this weekend and after many days of unrelenting gray – blue skies. It is shocking that here in the US and across the globe we don’t and won’t care adequately for the elderly and infirm – but then we don’t care for the young either – as a nation. We rely on individuals who feel the imperative to ease suffering. Things are quickly getting very bad here under Trump. The beauty of the garden restores faith and strength. Doing what all I can in my little corner of the world seems not enough – but there is no hope in helplessness. Like in the garden – all the tiny acts of tending and caring are transformative.

  17. As someone who was afraid and is still fearful of losing affordable health care, I sure do feel your pain. In this country, if we even think of raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for services, then the lobbyists spring into action. Best, best, best to your mother.

    1. Many, many, thanks, Laurie. The hardest aspect of this is that both Jackie and I managed the services that are impossible to obtain now. I saw the way it was going as long ago as 1986 when I got out after 20 years. Both the man who ran my training course, and my last Deputy Area Manager have been forced to buy their own services and equipment that we once gave out freely.These two men have been life-long friends who dedicated their lives to others; one is in a care home, the other buys domiciliary help.

  18. Sorry about your mother’s needs and care, the state of health insurance and help so many places…and the light as you noted had me in full thrall via the “virtual reality” of this blog…We all must at least keep sharing the wonders we discover and support of even small kindnesses in and around our lives.

  19. I get the feeling that old/elderly people are considered a damned nuisance or an embarrassment, and I’m dreading the time when I get old and need help in everyday things.

Leave a Reply