Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Friday, 7 February 2014
Seeing it through to the beginning
Sometimes it just goes like that - it doesn't rain but it pours. This has been the case for the last two months now, both literally and metaphorically.
I had an email from my daughter (who lives up North) the other day, telling me that her youngest daughter's father had died. At the same time, her eldest daughter's best friend had just suddenly died. This grandchild of mine has minor brain-damage due to a slight infection when a baby, so had found it quite difficult to make friends.
Because of these learning difficulties, she had been assigned a P.A. to help her through her day-to-day life, and this young woman had - over the years - become a good friend too. She has just unexpectedly died as well.
My eldest niece and God-Daughter has been fighting cancer for about a year now, and has undergone all the horrendous treatment - including the most extreme - needed to combat breast-cancer, and is still struggling on, taking as many holidays in warmer climates as she can afford.
Last weekend, an old friend of about my age came to visit us from London, with the news that her cancer had returned, although she looked pretty good under the circumstances.
When I think about this stuff, I almost put my own little problems into perspective, but I cannot quite disassociate the weather - two months of relentless wind and rain - from it, and I am getting extremely intolerant toward, and short with anyone who begins to bore me in the pub.
It is also the weather which brings the bores in from the garden where they normally congregate, (I include myself in this bracket) to stand around the fireplace, and there is no escaping them save from going to a different pub. All I want is an hour's worth of peace and quiet before going home to catch The Archers (with a capital 'C'), but almost every evening this is all but impossible because of the crowd who have been there drinking since lunchtime.
There is one man who is genuinely entertaining, interesting and well-informed, and I consider him to be a friend, even though I have only known him since last Summer. As far as I can tell, he only has one, slight social problem. He is a space-invader.
He talks to me, moving closer to my face as if he is going to impart some whispered secret, but speaks in an ordinary voice. I move my chair a little further away from his, and he shifts his closer again so he can breathe into my face. He also gesticulates with his hands a great deal when he talks, indicating the past tense by throwing one over his shoulder, and the present by throwing the other about an inch from my nose.
When I eventually have my back up against the wall, I ask him if he would move a little further away from me so I don't feel trapped. He looks offended, but moves his stool about two inches away from mine. If I leave my seat for any reason, I return to find he has moved his even further toward mine than it was before, making it impossible for me to sit down with my legs in any comfortable position unless he moves again. I have to physically push against him for him to understand how much longer my legs are than his.
I remember hearing about a troubled boy who was interviewed by a parole-board to try to find out what caused him to behave in the violent way he did.
He explained that - as a little experiment - he decided to punch any member of his gang without warning or explanation who came close enough to him to allow him to do so without shifting his position. He literally kept them at arms-length.
This is how he ended up with no close friends at all.