Sunday, 30 November 2014

At ease in my own skin

The theme of this post is borrowed/stolen shamelessly from Jean Rolt of "Tregear Vean".

When the time finally arrives that you can be at ease in your own skin after a major trauma (illness, bereavement, shock of some kind) you may well not be happy.

I think the definition of happiness varies from person to person but one thing on which most people agree is that it is not a permanent state.

It is, rather, a brief fleeting sensation of pure joy, with no caveats.

Those of us lucky enough to have experienced this feeling will not only accept that it can be only a temporary one, but also feel glad that it is not a permanent condition.  To be filled with overwhelming joy every day of one's life would surely lead to some kind of insanity.

Human beings are capable of sustaining great calmness in the face of sudden emergencies, great courage in the face of threat or danger, but perhaps not quite so well able to cope with the magnitude of sheer joy.

To be content with one's lot is a major achievement and often one we struggle to attain, but once reached is a wonderfully sound foundation on which to base a life.

Not to be dependent on another human being for our happiness, but to work at creating it for ourselves is a huge step on the way to true content.

I have written before (many times) on the subject of loneliness with its attendant lowering of spirits
but that is not to say that you cannot find a level within your own being which will allow you to be alone and content.

Some months (about 10 or 11), after the death of my husband I had some counselling from a lovely wise caring priest who was able to make me understand that the key to content lay in seeing life from the perspective of others, some in a similar situation, but all with experience of the sudden gulf which separates us from our fellows after a bereavement.

Until then i had been sunk into a state of gloom and loneliness which I had convinced myself was to be my state for the remainder of my life.

At first resenting the fact that I was being expected to take part in ordinary life, it gradually became clear that the only way forward was in doing just that.  Not to cut myself of from people, not to close my ears to other people's problems but by becoming involved in listening to the woes and problems of those around me to gradually find a role where being of use to someone, even in a very small way
was richly rewarding, and, on the rare occasions when it was possible to really brighten someone else's day, capable of producing real joy.

When finally involvement in some capacity with someone with problems produces a feeling of strength and sometimes even the ability to offer a solution, becomes the daily norm then you can rest easy in your own company.

I have gone from despair through experiment, disappointment, small feeling of pleasure to complete and absolute happiness, however brief and a feeling that, with God;s help and a favouring wind i can cope with whatever life throws at me and sometimes even enjoy it.

Bless you Jean and forgive my theft.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Foreign call centres

Yet another post on the subject of foreign (usually Indian) call centres.

Yesterday between 1.00pm and 6.10pm I received no less than three calls.

Today, one at 9.30am  and one at 4.15pm.

It is beginning to feel personal, yet I know it is not.  Look up numbers beginning with 003, 002 and 0009 on Google and you will discover battalions of persecuted victims.

As I have said before (many times), my calls begin "Can I speak with Mrs Bar nez" or "am I speaking with Ray Barnez".

Firstly, there is no such person, secondly it should be speaking to not with and thirdly I don't really care tuppence how they address me, I'd just prefer them not to.

Last evening's 6.15 call "Am I speaking to Ray Barnez" was answered, "Not any more you're not" phone put down.  Today's 2nd call simply was left unanswered - I hung up about 10 minutes later.

This sounds mildly amusing but it is slowly driving me nuts.

No-one seems able to deter them.

Perhaps if we all simply left the phone off the hook until they gave up the loss of revenue would finally get to them and they'd find another occupation.  Or am I being naive?

Has anyone a new idea?

Saturday, 15 November 2014


Switching on my computer this morning I saw that there was a fresh comment on my latest post.

Eager to read it I found it was not a comment, but a hate-filled, mysogonistic diatribe on the subject of American women.

Shocked by the aggressive bile and unable to find anything remotely resembling reason in it's content , I read it twice and deleted it.

Later, I wondered two things.  Firstly, why had he (I assume it was a he) chosen my blog to display his paranoia, and secondly, had I done the right thing in deleting it.?

Normally in favour of freedom of speech I can only assume that it was my desire not to be associated in any way with its contents which made me obliterate it.

Was I right to do so, or should I have allowed it to remain in all of its offensive glory?

Opinions please.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Last Last Post?

This morning after our normal Eucharist (this time half an hour early), we processed as usual to the 1st World War memorial in the churchyard for our usual laying of a wreath, and prayers

We then, instead of as most people would think, going home to put our feet up and rest our tired voices, made our way, a long blue and white crocodile, to the Market Square.

Since we were a quarter of an hour earlier there than normal, we had to stand (in silence, the microphones were right in front of us) until the town Remembrance Service began.

This year, the petrol fuelled generator from which all the cables operating the microphones was run, was right behind us.

Backs and legs aching from the previous hour and a half we then took part in the hour-long service - six hymns and an anthem - and additionally had to cope with the fumes from the generator.

Much as I respect and love the annual remembering of all those who fought in the two great wars and all the others since, I think the time has come for me to listen to my last Last Post in the Square.

Having to move off in procession at the end of the service with feet and legs of solid concrete is almost impossible, and the fact that the street we walk along back to St Mary's is cobbled is just the icing on the cake.

Time I think to call it a day.  Next year I will take part in the church service and the churchyard  one but not the Civic Service in the square.

Not one to play the 'age card' as a general rule, next year as an 80-year old I will do just that..