“Not Too Sensitive A Subject”

No ironing of any consequence has been carried out since before my knee surgery. This morning we began a blitz on the backlog, finishing the task after lunch.

Some 35 years or so ago Jackie, clearly influenced by her talented and entertaining father, Don Rivett, made a little book for a very young nephew who was rather fascinated by

Recently Helen returned it to her and I scanned its front cover and pages yesterday.

This frontispiece ditty with accompanying captioned drawings is typical of the family humour.

There is a page of dedication containing the first of the photographed cut from

publications sought out by the author. The recipient may have found it easier than some to follow the ignoring suggestion;

the direction to lift opens a cut out box revealing

the knees featured on the next page.

Clearly we don’t have to ignore these.

Rhyme links some pages,

Some, linked thematically have no captions;

others inspire a little verse;

or contain random selections.

Further cut-out panels, without the need for lifting panels,

reveal further knees.

Neat little rhymes continue;

as do witty little vignettes.

Inspiration comes from a variety of sources,

not the least of which is this double page set of footballers,

and their following pages.

‘Kneels on wheels’ is particularly delightful;

perhaps not so what is revealed by the next cut-out block:

When handing over this masterpiece, Helen hoped it was not too sensitive a subject.

This evening we dined on a tender slow-roasted gammon joint; Jackie’s succulent ratatouille and piquant cauliflower cheese with creamy mashed potato. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while I consumed more of the Malbec.

Agnes and Gert

Door jambRoughly at dog snot level throughout the ground floor of our house was a dado frieze painted by nose with pigment it is best not to enquire about. There was a concentration on door jambs. Jackie and Elizabeth between them did excellent work cleaning this off. This morning Jackie found one she had missed and gave it her best attention later on.

PatioPatio 2One of the piles of rubbish for eventual removal, photographed previously, lay on an imaginatively textured set of patio paving fronting the French windows to the sitting room. This rather ruined the view, so today I decided to move the detritus to join that on the larger heap at the side of the house. Next, I weeded the cracks between the stones, returned the overspills of earth to the surrounding flower beds, and gave everything a good sweep. I also tidied up the numerous tubs and window boxes our predecessors had filled with delightful spring bulbs to welcome us. Each time I carried weeds to the compost heap, I pulled up lots of sticky Willies on the way. One set of these tentacles was entwined around stinging nettles, the welcome of which continues to throb as I type. Between showers this took most of the day, apart from a shopping trip to B & Q, to Stewart’s Garden Centre, and finally to The Ferndene Farm Shop.

Close observers of what our daughter Becky calls the hobo on the bench in yesterday’s photograph, will have noticed that the grass needs cutting. We went to B & Q for a strimmer and a few other things, one of which was a garden kneeler. They didn’t have the latter piece of equipment there so we bought one in Stewart’s.Garden kneeler

Those same close observers may have noticed the dirty knees of my trousers, indicating a certain amount of genuflection. Should they be under sixty they will probably have no idea of the difficulty that this movement can present. I know I certainly didn’t when I was.

I remember my Dad saying to me: ‘You know you are getting old when you have to  use your hands to get out of a chair’. The same is true of rising from a penitent pose. As can be seen from the photograph above, this kneeler provides supports for that very movement.

This bring me to AGNES (Age Gain Now Empathy System) and GERT (the GERontolic Test suit). These are the usually tortuously contrived acronyms, but never mind, what they represent are age simulation suits. Originally introduced in the motor car industry they are now used for training in the caring and health professions to give younger people, who are after all those working with the aged, an idea of the restrictions that come with advancing years.Age simulation suitAge simulation suit

So-called ageing suits are made of materials that restrict movement of the knees, elbows, back and neck, and use gloves to reduce the sense of touch, goggles to simulate blurry vision, and ear muffs to reduce hearing.

One aspect of the arthritis which causes most of the problems of flexibility, that the suits cannot reproduce, is the associated pain, but maybe experiencing the restricted movement and apparent deterioration of other faculties will enable the need for pain relief to be better understood.

We dined this evening on Jackie’s superb chilli con carne (recipe) with wild rice, followed by Post House Pud which consists, like The Firs Mess, of merangues filled with whatever fruit, cream, ice cream and suchlike is available. I finished the Marques de Carano.