Thursday, January 19, 2017

Beginning of this New Year

For me this time, just after the holidays is like a hiatus, a time of  blank diary pages and silent telephones. Everyone has left Cape Town or so it seems to me. In fact to judge by the roads, everyone has come to Cape Town from  all over the country. But this influx of visitors only means that I stay at home rather than driving anywhere, because driving is so stressful. The other day we traveled to Fish Hoek so slowly that we were overtaken by a man walking next to a toddler on a tricycle.

During this very peaceful period, before the world wakes up and gets back to work again, I should be getting down to work myself and doing some serious writing. I have been somewhat discouraged lately, because I have not been very successful in getting work published, but I have just read a very inspiring article written by a writer with a similar problem. She complained to a more successful friend who gave the following advice. "Don't aim to get your work accepted. Aim to get 100 rejection slips" You  have to work very hard to do this, but you have a very good chance of succeeding and you also have definitely increased your chances of getting an acceptance.

Writers, particularly poets, should remember that we are not in this game for the money. No one makes a living out of writing verse. Neither are we in it for the glory and fame. I know dozens of poets living nearby, talented, gifted poets, but none of my other friends have heard of them.
So why do we write stories and compose poems? We write, just because we love to write.

New Year

I see on Face Book my memory for today is the losing of my blog. (that happened a long time ago)  When I saw this post it  reminded  me that I had not posted anything in my blog this year. I had not been inspired to write anything, an indication that I was feeling low and  did not think  anything worth writing about'

The year started rather sadly, with my daughter Eleanor  and her husband Andreas leaving for Namibia and Luke going back to George, with some problems too. Amanda and Carlyle had already left, Danielle was back at work and,of course,very busy. Nothing much was happening here to distract me .Here is a gloomy poem about it.


After the flush of holidays the tide  recedes
 leaving the  beach exposed and litter-strewn,
bleached  grey under a smoke-stained sky.
I walk alone beside the shallow waves
 barefoot through rough and gritty sand
 dragging behind  me memories
and thoughts of joyful days.

The New Year splashes icy over  me,
its taste metallic, bitter on my tongue.

But now things are improving. Evergreen Choir practices have started up again. The first U3A meeting was most entertaining and enlightening(more about this later) and My old friend Pinkie(Elizabeth) Hulbert has come to stay nearby in the St James Hotel. She actually stayed a few days with me first because her luggage and  furniture hadn't arrived, It only got  to Cape Town three days after she did. 

The worst thing about the new year has been the fires. They have been particularly widespread this year. The dry weather and the strong winds have made ideal conditions for \veld fires. Smoke from fires as far away as Paarl reaches us here. Everybody is sure they e been deliberately set, but the culprits are never found. If only a band of dedicated fire-spotters like the shark-spotters could be employed. I'm sure it would actually save money. After the towers used for spotting fires in the plantations round George were abandoned, fires were much more frequent and a lot of timber was lost. 

Old Age Revisited

The talk at the last U3a meeting was most entertaining. Rayne Stroebel, from an organisation called Eden Alternative(SA) told us about aging and how to prevent it, (or rather how to slow it down.) His contention is that it is the perception of old age rather than the actual condition that causes most of the problems.  I thought his presentation excellent, but a bit over the top. I mean that certain aspects seemed to me to be exaggerated.  For instance I can't believe that life expectancy has increased as much as he claims. People in the first world may be living longer, but I don't think many of us are going to be living to 130 whatever certain statistics may say.
These points, however, were worth considering:-
a)There is no need for the rapid deterioration often seen when someone goes into an old age home.
b)When one is treated as old and incompetent one begins to believe this assessment of oneself and acts accordingly. c)There are certain factors that cause more rapid decline.
Triggers of rapid decline  are:
1.Falls. After a fall very many old people become much less mobile or even bed ridden. He also says that it is not only a fall itself but the fear of falling.that causes over-cautiousness and reluctance to try anything.  Exercises to improve balance and strength can certainly help here.  I always say there is a difference between falling and "having a fall" People at Evergreen "have a fall" and are never the same again. I fell by the dam at Silvermine a few weeks ago when the dog pulled me over and I only had a few scratches to show for it. Is this because I fall differently? I don't know, but I do know that I don't usually hurt myself when I trip and fall, but many people break bones when this happens.
2, Incontinence. There can be a number of reasons for this but people are often too embarrassed to talk about it or ask for medical help. It can lead to people not wanting to go out and can also lead to bladder infections and some of these infections can have  symptoms  that can lead to an incorrect diagnosis of dementia. (something that I was quite unaware of)
3. Over medication. All medicines have side effects and when several are taken every day there are bound to be unwanted effects. Often old people have been prescribed so many different drugs that they are in a half-dazed state most of the time. Medicines should be periodically checked and monitored
4., Being with negatively motivated people. A positive attitude is very important. Being surrounded by poeple who have a negative attitude can hasten the aging process.
5. Anxiety. Anxiety about health, finances, physical security can all contribute to premature aging.