Happy New Year!

01 January 2021

So it begins again. A Happy New Year to all of you reading this. These past twelve months have contained many changes as well as experiences, some of which I personally do not wish to repeat. We all make mistakes, but as has been said it is not the falling down, it is the getting up again which is most important. I have seen many things that I never thought I would and I am so very thankful and grateful to each and every one who has brought me to how and where I am today. Right from those friends and neighbours who had not seen or heard from me for a while, to the ambulance people who got into my old flat and got me to hospital and to all who cared and still care for and about me. We may choose the wrong road to travel sometimes, but there is usually a way back. The first steps are often the hardest, but they are indeed well worth the effort. My heart is now working as it should, my diet is very much improved and I am happier in myself than I have been for a while. We can often see the right path for others, yet cannot always see a correct one for ourselves!

Despite our individual difficulties, we have I hope tried to make the best of things at this festive time of year. I have had a delightful time, we were looked after especially well on Christmas Day here in this Care Home, we all received a present from them, mine was shower gel and shower soap. Very nice. I also received quite a few cards and a few other presents. At dinner they made sure that the few of us who are vegetarians were catered for, so whilst others had turkey or gammon we had appropriate dishes. It was all tasty food, along with a bit of good company and some rather fun entertainment! There were six inmates to a table and a bottle of non-alcoholic wine was put on each. Though I had to smile when one inmate immediately opened a bottle and proceeded to pour some into a cup. I think he had most of the bottle to himself! That was not a problem for me, as I was happy with the blackcurrant juice. Our Carers wore Santa style hats, two of them danced to some of the music being played, all good fun, but I know a few of the inmates wondered what it was all about. One dear lady was asking why she was there, so I said “I know why – you are here to enjoy a really lovely Christmas dinner.” She accepted that.

A bit later I returned to my room, where I had a siesta. Then I looked online and saw a question asking ‘Why is Boxing Day so called?’ After a bit of research, I learned that Boxing Day seems to have got its name from when Queen Victoria was on the throne in the 1800s and it has nothing to do with the sport of boxing. The name comes from a time when the rich used to box up gifts to give to the poor. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give Christmas boxes to their families.

So as I have mentioned before, now is a time for giving to others as well as us being forgiving towards others. A short while ago I read a lovely story and the gist of it was that if someone tries to give you something and you do not accept it, then that thing stays with them. It is the same with insults. By not accepting insults we cannot be hurt by them, as they stay with the sender. So we should not respond in kind when someone makes nasty, unkind or derogatory remarks to us. Do not accept their unkind words and ways. If someone is short or sharp in their words to me, I try to not do the same back to them, even though I might want to. Instead, I respond in a kindly manner. If I behave like them, I am no better than them and it might then lead me to be unkind to others. Which would be wrong. In my view.

A few years ago, whilst driving along a motorway, I was approaching a slip road where a car was going to join the motorway. We’ve all seen it or done it. There you are, on the slip road and you are wanting to join the motorway. You are indicating, looking for a space, but someone who could let you in closes the gap. Now you have to brake and you are now going slower, thus making the task of joining the motorway that little bit harder. All they probably had to do was to think ahead a little more and leave a gap. So I have always tried to think ahead like that. Obviously if it’s not possible, or to do so might cause an accident, then you just have to be safe. But if they’re also looking ahead far enough, they will realise. One time I let a driver in and he raised his hand in a kindly way to thank me. At the next junction, he let another driver in. A kind act ripples on, just like when a pebble is dropped into water.

We cannot know exactly how long these difficult times may last, but as is already being done, kind words and deeds are being done. They too are rippling through our communities. In my case I try to thank the Carers for all they do for me and every other inmate here. I hope the thanks that we give to them might perhaps ripple through to their families and friends, helping us all to cope in these stressful times. I am reminded of wise words told to me some years ago by a man who I have mentioned before, Srinivas Arka. “In this way, we learn from the past, live in the present and look to the future with a smile.”

Finally for this week…
On a well-known quiz show, contestants were asked to identify deserts around the world from a list of names. They were also warned that at least one of the names was incorrect. Some answers were obvious, others less so, but one contestant chose ‘Kanafeh’ as their answer.

However, that proved to be a dessert…

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