Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Appliances, juggling and purple nails.....

You are all so sweet. I wish you could show up in the library on Friday to join us! I just get so frustrated by some younger specimens making assumptions about what those who may be slightly older are capable of doing. I tend to see it as older people having way more experience from which they can draw. 

But moving on......

I am in the middle of Strategic Planning. I swear I could mastermind a multi-disciplinary, multifaceted event, like a battle with my eyes closed and only one hand functioning. Ask any woman juggling older relatives, younger relatives, life and herself at the same time. We are amazing. We can do anything. Medical appointments, medications, tickets, travel, dentists, tumble dryers which may burst into flames, missing receipts, nails, cooking, shopping, hair standing on end..... (pause for deep breath) friends dying, birthdays, trains, house, classes, gym.......

Well, some gets shuffled to the side now and then, like the gym right now, but that is purely temporary. I sit down in the evening and fall asleep almost immediately. Logistics. Trying to get things to dovetail together. So very complicated at times. But, to get to Goal A, 5,465,829,456,926 things need to be sorted first. By me. Sometimes, the head crashes onto the desk, I confess. It is a challenge. I am, of course, very good at forgetting the "Pace Yourself" instructions which I know I have to follow. So there are always consequences. 

I have a fairly new tumble dryer, which happens to be one with a safety alert notice attached to the model. 8 million or so of them need to be adjusted to prevent them from bursting into flames and potentially burning the house down. Just PERFECT. Can you see me with physical limitations, or my 90 year old mother tossing a burning dryer out of the door with ease? Maybe not.  They are apparently safe to use, but not to be left. 

However, some still catch fire. 

So, in an organised fashion, while waiting for it to be fixed, I started hunting for the receipt. Hahahaha. All my receipts are kept together. HAHAHA. 4 hours later, I called the shop in desperation, and they, thankfully, were able to supply a replacement invoice for me. This is important, because, after reading of more disasters on their page, I decided that I didn't want an adjusted one. I want to get a totally different reliable one. One which has no intention of killing us. So I asked for a refund. And, unbelievably, they are giving me a full refund! Amazing. I was absolutely delighted.  I should imagine that they are only too happy to cross some names off the list. Now I await collection. Tomorrow I will sort the new one. Time. It all takes time, doesn't it.  

This is a totally boring post. 

Life a la Linds. 

I do have purple nails, though. Just to spice up my day.

New nails. Special deal. I am purple!

I just wish you could see the to do list. The new oven was on it again - it has been on it for a good while. Years. But keeps getting kicked off for one reason or another. Ovens which are dependable are vastly over-rated, I keep telling myself. 

I clearly have a problem with appliances and need to get a life. But not long now, and I will have lots to tell you!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A little snow, and my Library Girls.......

Well, good morning to you all from a chilly Middle England. 


We (unexpectedly) had our first snowfall of winter on Saturday night. You know how you can check the weather app on our smart phones now? Well, I love checking what it is doing in all the places where I have loved ones, so it is a global feast of differences, and sure enough, approaching midnight on Saturday night, it said it was snowing  in Engelberg. Of course. It is winter in the Alps. Then I swiped to the side and got home, and it said it was SNOWING? What? I headed for the window, and sure enough, the white stuff was falling steadily. 

Such excitement. 

On Sunday morning, it looked very white and pretty and I popped out to take a few photos. Yes, I know. there is not that much, but we do enjoy having snow days! 

Anyway. I was going to tell you a little about my Friday afternoons. 

Somehow, I ended up volunteering to help people learn how to use iPads. I am sure I have mentioned this before. We have a wonderful librarian, with a talent for conversation, and the next thing you know, you are embarking on something different, without quite knowing how that happened. Caz is a star. 

So, I have had a group of ladies ranging in age from 40ish to 90something, meeting every Friday afternoon for well over a year, and I am not sure how much they gain in terms of knowledge, but we do have fun. There is a great deal of repetition, but that goes with saying, because I forget things too. 

The class got a little big, so I decided to split it in two, and this photo below is of the second class, which follows on after the first one each week. Two new ladies arrived last week, and so help me, a rapid introduction (for me) to the Kindle Fire and an Acer tablet ensued. I can do iPads, but other ones are a mystery, so there I was, typing in questions like "WHERE IS THE HOME PAGE" and "How do I find settings" into my iPad while frantically trying to keep everyone occupied, and appear as though I actually knew what I was doing. Actually, I just told them I didn't have a clue, but that we would Make A Plan. 

And we did. Sort of. Oy. I couldn't find the settings for ages, to connect the wifi. But we got there in the end, and I will have to check out a few more hows and whys before I can actually, you know, TEACH anything. They had fun chatting while I tried to appear intelligent. I had this same steep learning curb when one of the first class ladies arrived with a Samsung. I knew nothing. In fact, I remember messaging a friend, back then, who I knew had a Samsung and asking him to present himself at the library immediately to sort it out. He obliged, thank heavens.  

Class2 library girls

The week before, I had promised them all that we would do something exciting this last week. Something my mother reminded me of a couple of hours before we left for the library. I did have a plan, but I thought I would google "iPads for the older generation" to get some more ideas. My advanced class is slightly older than my newer class, which is made up of mothers and daughters. 


They need to come and visit my classes. 

The vast majority of the "Best" "Essential" apps suggested revolved around when to take medication, medical appointments, where is my phone, call centres for the housebound and such like. Oh, and the occasional solitaire game. 

No inspiration there then. 

My lot LOVE Pinterest, groupon, TED talks, travel sites, emails, iBooks etc. Some use Facebook and some don't. They bank on line, join communities on line, read the news on line, order their food on line, do shopping for everything on line, search out information, recipes etc on line and are NOT susceptible to scams, because we cover scams Every. Single. Lesson. 

They edit the photos they take, visit comparison websites, and are old hands at Skype and FaceTime. Well, some of them are. Some are just realising they have access to them for the first time, but they are the newer ones. We are all about discovering the delights of technology. And of playing with the grandchildren at their own games too. In fact, now and then, my Library Girls surprise their own families. 

Somehow, the world seems to think that older people are techno-idiots. I am here to say they most certainly are not. In fact they are whizz kids. The oldest lady in the class is in her 90s, and is the quickest of the lot. Super bright. Not afraid to try, and super inquisitive. She is a delight. 

They all are. Mum comes along as well now and is loving Pinterest. She uses messages and FaceTime, email, Flickr and Skype quite happily too. They are not in the slightest bit interested in their medication reminders or such like. They want to have fun. (They do, however, all LOVE Spider. Aka Solitaire.)

The (iPad) Tablet revolution is just that. Tablets have revolutionised access to the Internet and been a huge game-changer for everyone, especially older people. And that will just increase as they become more accessible, affordable and people become more proficient. They can adjust fonts and lighting, they can still read books long after the actual book becomes impossible to decipher. So very many good points. I just LOVE mine. 

So what did we do last Friday? 

We opened Google Earth, selected places from their past, and set out to search them on street view. I cannot tell you how much fun was had by all, wandering down long forgotten streets, twirling around, visiting places which have changed so much over decades. Places of birth. Primary schools. Honeymoons. Far away places from long ago memories. The laughter was wonderful. The hour flew by, and they left to go and hunt out more treasures at home. 

Simple things. 

We talked about making 5 minute videos for our grandchildren, talking about memories, using bits and pieces to illustrate our memories. Like photos. Priceless. Our oldest lady used to clean tanks in the war, and those really were her glory days. They defined every part of who she became subsequently. I want to hear her story. She seems to be considering it. I have shown them how easy it is. Now we wait at see, with a little - a lot - more encouragement. We may start our own YouTube channel. Who knows. 

Snowy Harrington

Some Fridays, I remember I have my classes and may feel a little tired before I go to that library, you know. It is a temporary feeling, because the moment I arrive and get chatting, I am totally filled with energy and it all comes from them. They are such fun. I forget me, and just enjoy them. 

I do think however, that I need to write a more realistic list of apps I would suggest for "the older generation". And what the heck is the older generation anyway? Over 100? We have stuff to do and things to experience, remember! 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Getting ready......

Good morning, all!

We have glorious sun, blue skies and it is COLD.

Hallelujah, winter is arriving.

The daffodils are blooming everywhere, hellebores are in flower and snow is forecast for us all this week. In fact, if some newspapers are to be believed, the coldest winter in 58 years is upon us. Yeah, right. Like last summer was supposed to be the hottest in living memory.

We definitely know that failed to occur.

I will report back in my snow gear in a couple of days. I may, however, do a quick grocery shop today, just in case. The prospect of surviving without milk is unthinkable. (I don't drink milk.) We will be prepared.

Life potters on - I am starting to get ready for Part 1 of my Year of Adventure, which is approaching rapidly. Thinking about logistics, and trying to sort all the balls floating about above my head into some kind of order. There is a lot happening this year. I have plans. I forget things, you see, so the plans need to be concrete. As in written down. They do involve aeroplanes and suitcases quite often, after all.

News of David Bowie's death yesterday was a sad surprise. He was one of the icons of my youth - who could forget Ziggy Stardust? Aladdin Sane? "Ground control to Major Tom....." Hugely influential, and such a trendsetter. Out of the ordinary became normal. I was a teenager and young adult at the start of the 70s and out of the ordinary typified my generation in so many ways. I have been singing Starman incessantly. Heroes too. He seemed to be ageless, didn't he? 69 is way too young to die, and also a little too close for comfort.

It tends to make one re-assess things with a little more focus. 

Living well is different for each of us. I can only speak for myself, but I am aware of things such as potential physical frailties, and pitfalls and I am trying to tick the boxes next to some of the dreams sooner rather than later. So much to look forward to! Both home and away. I really do not want to end up in a chair somewhere mulling over regrets and missed opportunities. Not my idea of fun. I would rather go and see and experience and live and breathe All The New Things which appeal to me now. While I can .

There are always valid reasons why one cannot do things. Family commitments, appointments, health, finances, logistics, distances. But equally, there are ways around some of them. As I explained  once, when my list of dreams such as seeing the Aurora Borealis was discussed, some people explore the world when they are young. Others, like me, have a family while young and then explore the world when they are older. Or try to, one way or another. Timing varies. But I will not sit at home dreaming for the rest of my life. That is not a life for me. I need to cross things off that list.


Part of this is cultural, you see. Growing up at the bottom of Africa, you are thousands of miles from everything, so there is always the desire to leave to go and travel, see, experience the big wide world. Geographical isolation tend to feed that desire. I know people here in the UK, and around the globe, who see no reason to travel more than a couple of miles. Ever. From those who do not want to cross the valley, to those who have never owned a passport. They are perfectly happy right here at home, and that is wonderful. It is just personal choice, after all. 

I am only speaking of myself.

Being married to a serial globetrotter for a very long time also contributes to my itchy feet. Geoff spent his entire working life travelling to the four corners of the earth, seeing amazing places, experiencing the unusual. Then he came home to tell me all about those exciting places, and he only ever wanted to spend his leave right here inside these 4 walls - which drove me crackers, because hello, we had been here all the time he was away and how about a change of scenery for us too now and then? The solution was going to sea with him when we could, but believe me, that wasn't always what I had in mind. And thank the Good Lord for a sister in the Alps. 


I just looked out of the window. That blue sky and brilliant sun I spoke of up there at the top of the page? History. Clouds rolling in. The weather people may be right this time. 

So, I am making plans. And lists. We need some excitement to talk about around here! 

Monday, January 04, 2016



Good morning - This was dawn yesterday. Beautiful, isn't it? But that pink sky was accurate. Within an hour or two, the rain came and it was a really foul grey and wet day weather-wise. However, the dawn was stunning! 

A new year brings with it many resolutions, good intentions, plans, and changes. Well, it brings dreams of all these things. The reality is slightly less spectacular. I know this from long experience.

 There is, though, one idea that I really like - the one word choice. Finding a word you would like to focus on throughout the year. 

Last year, I decided to try to make things happen which had not been happening. Instead of saying, "I can't do ....." I decided to think rather of how I could make those can't do things into doable ones. I am sick of being restricted. It was the year of try to change things. A "can" year. And it worked in many ways. Not all, but we are getting there. 

So, Diana and I started the year by going to London for a day or two, and going to a show. Complete with booking disabled seating, taking foam blocks to help with vibration and sound, and earplugs. And it worked. I saw a West End show and lived to tell the tale. Believe me, it is not perfect. But it was doable. I hesitate to use the word tolerable, because that sounds negative and it was a wonderful and I had a lovely time. 

A huge part of this a mental one. Admitting that using some aids may make things more possible, (and more things possible), even though it is not ideal to have to admit one might need them. Things like my zooty walker thingamy. Not an old lady kind. A silver racing version. Well, that is what I tell myself. As one of my friends said - now you can come to events with us! True. It has a long wheel-base which protects me in crowds. That may have actually applied to the wheelchair bit, but you know, if I can regain that part of my life - the ability to experience the things I love, with people I love, then it is all good. I can rise above the concept. 

Well, we are trying. 

So the word for this year did not take much pondering. We have sorted the "how to" phase. So this year, my word is "Adventure". I want to live, to explore, to discover, to dare, to dream, to believe, to be brave. I want to have adventures. 

It is time.

So often, it is easier to think of reasons why not instead of reasons why. I am, by nature, the eternal optimist, and I don't like the cautionary recluse I was becoming. No, I want to be out there experiencing life. 

And it one day that includes things like wheelchairs, then I will get out the bling and personalise it, and we - my trusty steed and I - will be off on more adventures. I knew I had the world's biggest craft supply store for good reason. 

Watch this space, people......

Friday, January 01, 2016



Thank heavens for tech friends like Sandra who sent me a video of what to do! What a superstar!


And thank heavens that video will still be there tomorrow when I will have forgotten all the details....

I will be back.

Happy New Year from Middle England!

Happy New Year from my home to yours! 

I have been trying to post a few photos but I cannot navigate my way around the new Flickr way so I may have to start a new blog somewhere, get my own website or something. 


Challenges and I are well acquainted.

It has been a long time. I know. Stuff happens, energy runs out, sometimes things have to be set aside for a while. But it is a new year and I have to try to resurrect a place where I can write and share the myriad things churning about in my mind. 2016 promises to be full of exciting things in my world - in fact, there is so much happening in the first half of the year it already looks crazy. But it is good stuff, and I will be sharing as we go. 

Mum has age-related macular degeneration which means she has to attend the eye clinic every 4 weeks which makes for a complicated schedule here, because visits to my sister are difficult. She cannot fly for 2 weeks after the injections, and so help me, I cannot do 2 weekly trips either. So that has to be dealt with and we are still trying to find ways that work for us. Otherwise, she turned 90 and is in sparkling form. Usually. We had a little blip over the Christmas weekend, when she woke with a face hugely swollen from some tooth abscess, and we had to spend time in A&E waiting for X-rays, antibiotics etc. They are working, though, and she is recovering. 

I aged rapidly. 

Christmas was quiet for us this year - Andrew and his family were with Ann's parents this year, and Diana, of course, was enjoying her Christmas in the sun with friends in NZ. Last year we had a house full! Missy will be 7 in February - it never ceases to amaze me how fast the time flies by. They popped up for a few days before Christmas, which was lovely. Andrew has taken up running in a big way - it started with the global park run phenomenon, and has grow into longer distances and more frequent runs. He has also signed up for the Luzern Half Marathon later in the year. 

David continues to work at the hospital locally, and seems settled for now, although he does still talk of returning to Kent at some stage. Who knows - they all make their way in different directions, somehow, don't they. 

I have so much to say and I have no idea how or where to start. So, you know what, I am not going to try. Chronological catching up is not going to work. I will just pick up the flow and talk as I go, and try to explain things as and when they become necessary. But please know this - you have never been forgotten.  I think of you so often, and talk of you to people I am close to - like Kelli Bach. We have many lovely chats, remembering the wonderful time we had discovering the joys of blogging and the lovely friends we made a decade ago. 

So much time has flown by. 

But so much still awaits us. 

New pages, new experiences, new adventures.......