Good and Bad in 2010
Good 2010 started well: my son and daughter came for Hogmanay, the first time we’d all been together for some years. A happy time.
Bad The early part of the year was coloured by a succession of illnesses and some truly awful weather: snowed in for weeks.
Good The long-postponed concert given by our little French primary school pupils was held in February – Away in a Manger and the Twelve Days of Christmas seemed a bit old hat by then. A heart-stirring occasion with happy kisses and ‘ow are you? s from ‘our’ children and a spirited rendition of songs familiar and strange.
Bad We’d given a lift to the concert to the regular teacher – our lovely friend Agnes – who was coughing her heart out. A week later, so was I. The painful fits of coughing meant no sleep for a fortnight, nights spent in an armchair. The antibiotics I was eventually given started to deal with the chest infection, only to declare war on my heart medication. A horror story of haemorrhage resulted in a) acute anaemia and b)
Good a dramatic poem, Red – http://vivnada.wordpress.com/ the first poetry in quite a while. Nobody liked it though, so half bad.
Bad The anaemic lassitude left me lying on the sofa all day, which did something crucial to my lower back, never good at the best of times. Spasming in agony, I was totally incapable of moving, let alone making it from bed to loo. It was not helped by the bursts of bronchitic hacking and barking.
Good A heroic husband and two stalwart girlfriends finally succeeded in levering this old crock upright and able to put one foot in front of another. Thereafter, I managed most manoeuvres by leaning on my rambler’s Nordic poles. Agonising physiotherapy gradually produced almost normal mobility.
Good During these three painful months my final Open University module before graduation was successfully passed, concurrently with another online poetry course with a different university.
Bad My lovely sister-in-law, who had lost her husband the year before, had a stroke. After a worrying time she was well enough to stay with one of her 3 doctor sons, and finally to go home, when Jock went up to Scotland to help her back to a semblance of normal life. She had lost numeracy, and couldn’t recognise coins and notes: she who had been a superb infant teacher and guided generations of children in their first steps towards the three Rs.
Good By patient repetition and practice, Jock was able to re-awaken the relevant brain cells so that she could be independent again.
Triumph: Degree achieved – the culmination of seven years of on-line study. About time too, at seventy-two! The pomp and ceremony of graduation in the presence of my family in the splendid Sage Centre in Gateshead, Northumberland, was my reward for all the hard work.
Bad The end of my courses, combined with my low state of health, left me feeling like a knotless string: disoriented and unable to settle to anything.
Good A fellow OU student and dear friend Tillybud http://thelaughinghousewife.wordpress.com/ pointed me towards Napowrimo, writing a poem a day throughout April. Eureka. It was as though a tap had been turned on – poetry flowed, and I dared to start a blog as an outlet for the river of words. This led to my ‘meeting’ dozens of virtual poets, with the effect of stimulating even more writing.
Good While Jock was in Scotland with his sister, two wonderful things happened: a ‘virtual’ friend from my OU courses and her husband came to visit in their campervan, and virtual became reality. We got on like a house on fire (cliché alert), sparking off one another, spending hours at the piano singing, and reading and writing poetry – not to mention the nattering that went on. I took them exploring some of the local sights and a good time was had by all.
Good Immediately Liz and Julian left, I participated in Katharine Gallagher’s poetry workshop http://katherine-gallagher.com/ which was held in a converted mill complex not far from my home. The company was stimulating, the poetry exciting and the food fatteningly superb. KG suggested two publications for my poetry in French and subsequently a poem of mine was published in each. This was the first time I had ever read my poetry aloud to an audience. Without Liz’s teaching of the week before, it would have been a terrifying experience, but I managed to get through the ordeal and even enjoyed it. Three of my poems written during the workshop were published in an anthology.
Bad My daughter and her family decided to take a sabbatical, working as volunteers in the Turks and Caicos Islands. As a good mother, I wished them well, knowing it would be a great experience, but I also felt a sinking of morale at the thought of lack of contact for so long. Little did I know …
Good Through their comprehensive daily blogging http://huttsatwork.wordpress.com/ and the marvellous invention of Skype and webcams, I have had more contact with them thousands of miles away than ever I did when I could go and see them in half a day’s travel.
Good After our first ever Christmas with just the two of us – very enjoyable in its own way – my son arrived on 27th to spend a week with us, a week of relaxation and fun, a great end to 2010.
Looked at as a balance sheet, following Elizabeth’s journaling prompt http://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ this seems to have been a profitable year (not financially of course, but that’s another story). Eleven Goods and six Bads. We were asked to find a phrase to sum up the year: Like a weather forecast: sunny intervals and scattered showers.