Delicious lunch with the Sands-Rentons, in Saffron Walden.
Alison and Roger Musker droppedÂ in for morning coffee on their way to see one of their children at Bassingbourne. Alison, who was at Sherborne with Alice, has made quite a name for herself as a watercolourist and Roger, having already produced a book listing the entire works of Mozart, is now working on a similar study for Hayden. An interesting couple.
Captainâ€™s Day at Royal Worlington. I went along in the evening, to the AGM,Â because the outgoing captain, Nigel Notley, very kindly nominated the MND Association as this year’s charity and the members very generously donated Â£510 on the day. That will go towards boosting the Great London Swim event.
Chloe, Karl and three grandchildren came to lunch today. Fortunately the weather is on the mend and the children were able to run around in the garden. It was great to see them particularly as I now find it more difficult struggling all the way to East Dulwich where previously I always tried to go to visit them, about every six weeks, to keep in touch, particularly with the children who seem to grow up at an alarming rate. Before I know where I am the boys will be shaving and going off to university!
I wonder if any reader remembers me discussing the problem of elderly people getting their fingernails cut. If they do they will recall that there is a free toenail service in Essex but no provision for cutting elderly people’s fingernails. So concerned was I, not so much myself as I can afford to have my nails cut privately, but more for persons on a lower income who could not. For that reason,Â some months ago, Â I took the matter up with my local MP, Sir Alan Haselhurst who in turn contacted the Essex County Council. To cut a long story short, I am delighted to report that the ECC officers have had meetings with the Primary Care Trust and they have agreed to include fingernail cutting as part of their service. After going out to tender to provide this service it is anticipated it will commence on 1 October of this year. As I said to Sir Alan, it just goes to show what a couple of old boys can do if they stick to their guns.
The first truly spring-like day, sunny and bright but a chilly wind. I joined the geriatrics this morning and by sharing a buggy with Griggsy was able to walk and ride alternately and in this fashion probably walked about half of the course, albeit in a slow plodding fashion. There is certainly a noticeable deterioration in my legs over the past few weeks.
Those of you who have read the good doctor’s account of our recent visit to Thailand will realise what a demanding role is a carer’s job. I have been constantly amazed at how much care I need, for example, just for my Tuesday visit to the golf club, from the moment I am picked up in the morning to be taken to the club, either by Sir George or Peter Murphy, strapping me into their car, with my bag full of accoutrements etc and on arrival at the club being dressed up to brave the elements on the course by any poor soul who happens to be standing about. Out on the course, whenever my legs got tired, I was offered and accepted frequent lifts in Tony Griggsâ€™ golf buggy. Later, after divesting me of my outdoor clothes and changing my shoes, usually then fetching me a drink in my two handled mug with its special straw; lighting a cigar and making sure that it’s placed properly in my smoking stick before we go into lunch. Somewhere between all of this having a pee and accosting any passing member to adjust my trousers. â€“ today John Tilbrook was the lucky one.
Then there is the whole business of the apron, the wrist support on one hand and wipeable sleeve on the other, and so on to attend to, even before I consider what food I’m going to eat, which is usually fetched by others. I make no distinction, any passing member or member who finds himself sitting next to me gets lumbered with the task, as did David Robson and John Gray yesterday. Poor David got in a terrible muddle with the wrist support but he will learn. All of this is so typical of the members of this wonderful golf club any of whom would be interchangeable with those who kindly assisted me today. That’s why this has always been, and continues to be, a very special place for me. We are truly a family of members.
The sort of kindness which is really touching is when the boys see you’re having a bit of a struggle toward the end of the meal, as happened yesterday, David Robson on one side and John Gray on the other, without any prompting, started scooping up the food and fed me. Finally there’s the day removal of all the gear to attend to before I am kindly chauffeured home. It just goes to show that without all these little touches of kindness there is no way that I could possibly attend the geriatrics golf day on Tuesdays. I am deeply grateful and take nothing for granted.
Patrick and Gillian William-Powlett brought her three children to tea and to visit Mouse, the donkey.
London today, for a committee meeting of The Arbitration Club. Basically to discuss the setting up of an educational trust fund to visit China and to determine who will succeed meÂ to deliver the annual lectures at the Faculty of Law, CUPL Beijing. No final resolution of either was achieved at a meeting but the excursion ended very happy with the most enjoyable lunch with the chairman, Tim Reynolds, at Piccoliniâ€™s restaurant on the concourse adjacent to Herbert Smith’s offices.
On the way home, an old mate of mine from the gym, Charles Cox, plonked himself down on the seat opposite and we whiled the way the journey in discussing old times and the difficulties of functioning in this current financial climate. In fact, we very nearly failed to get out at Newport.
By the time the Charles had got me up from the seat he had to make a dash for the door before it closed and the train departed. In future I am going to speak to the driver and warn him that I’m on the train and when he gets to my station he must allow a few seconds longer for me to disembark.
My quarterly assessment at Addenbrooke’s HospitalÂ today with Dr Chris Allen and Shelagh Smith. They noted the comments from Papworth Hospital but in summary considered I was doing quite well. When pressed, which Chris is never very keen about, he speculated that my arms might well continue as they for some months and that I should certainly not give up the idea of going to China in October. The legs may be weaker but I should still be able to walk after a fashion. No guarantees!!
My brother and sister-in-law, John and Anne Gartonâ€“Jones came to lunch to see how we were, having trekked all the way from the other side of Shrewsbury in Shropshire. It was very kind of them particularly as John bought me a rather splendid bottle of 1975 Warres port. It was a beautiful spring day and we were able to have drinks in the garden, lunch inside and then back into the sunshine for our coffee. The in-laws were both in pretty good form particularly my brother-in-law, who is now knocking on 80. I am happy to say that theyÂ are still leading a very full life which is keeping them young at heart.
I had a fright during the night when I got up to have a pee. I can manage to get out of bed by rolling over and hooking one of my feet under a heavy armchair,, by the side of the bed, and thus levering myself up to a sitting position. In the bathroom I caught my toe on the skirting board around the bath, pitched forward andÂ banged my head against the wall. Fortunately however, I was saved from completely falling by the WC system casing., but it did give me a fright so much so that I determined that I would not venture out of bed again without the portable radio wrist alarm which the NHS has provided for me.
The alarm problem was reinforced today when I found myself stuck on the lower of my two office chairs. The main chair I have built up with three cushions and can manage to stand up by leaning on an adjacent table but the other one was too low and I struggled for over 10 minutes find a way of getting to the telephone to call for help. Clearly, the wrist alarm must now be worn at all times the only problem being that one needs quite a lot of strength to press the alarm button so I’m going to have a word with the makers, Possum, on Monday to see if it’s possible to make it more sensitive to touch.
The problem of getting up and down from seats will shortly overcome as I am about to buy two special cushions called â€˜UpEasyâ€™- one manual and one electrically operated. The manual and works by exerting a light pressure on the arms of the chair and then the cushion rises gently to Â put the sitter into a standing position. The electrically operated one works the same way except that it has an electric motor which requires less strength in the arms and hands to activate. Like so many other things for the disabled the price of these relatively straightforward pieces of equipment seem extortionate — the manual version costing Â£100-Â£120 and the electrically operated one around Â Â£200. It is certainly worth shopping around between the various suppliers of disabled equipment as the prices between one and the other can vary up to 20 or 30%.
Grand National day. Through my friend Kit I backed Arbour Supreme â€“ it fell! Ah well that’s my once a year bet over.