Thursday, 26 July 2012

Switched on

What is the first thing you do when you wake / get up? While I’m still in bed I will usually check my mobile – texts, Twitter, Facebook, emails – not necessarily in that order. I often switch on the bedroom TV for BBC Breakfast News.

Today I had a text about a delivery from The DX – I had no idea what it is for until I later got an email and realised it was tickets for an Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra gig in October: Amanda Palmer at KOKO. I almost never buy tickets for things in advance, let alone months in advance. I blame Twitter for seducing me into pledging support for her Kickstarter project. As long as you are cool about a little bit of nudity you can see/listen to one of her singles here: Want It Back

Back to first things. Bathroom ablutions – switch on radio, brush teeth, shower, moisturise face (inc SPF 15 – every day regardless of sunshine), sometimes I remember to moisturise body and/or use suntan lotion SPF 25.

Somewhat unusually for me (and the weather), it has been very hot at night. So today, I stripped my bed of bottom and middle sheets, put fresh linen on and loaded the washing machine which I remembered to switch on.

I might remember to have breakfast, I often don’t. Today I went into the kitchen where the washing machine is and put bread in the toaster, switched it on but completely forgot the toast was there for an hour or so. Fortunately my toaster has a reheat function. So I put the cold toast on the rack and switched the toaster on again. I had already switched on the TV and my laptop.

I had also remembered to take the battery for my new electric bike off charge. I had switched it on last night. So as well as driving a hybrid car which automatically switches between using the electric engine, the petrol engine or both, I now can use an electric bike. It is fabulous and I paid extra to have a throttle so I can get going from a standing start. This is particularly useful for me as I live at the top of a hill and there are traffic lights at the bottom.

I sold my existing folding bike and am giving my ladies mountain bike to my BFF. Her current bike is very old and a bit decrepit. She cycles pretty much every day so it’s going to be good to be able to replace the ancient with something far less rusty. I know she’ll try to pay me for it but I will refuse. I owe her so much. Both monetary and other kindnesses. I’m not sure which one of us will win on that. She’s coming round at 7 so hopefully I can persuade her that buying me a meal at a pub will be good recompense. She is walking to my flat and we will cycle to our favourite local hostelry.

It’ll be like being teenagers again but with fewer zits and less electronic devices. Have you been counting how switched on I am? PS I always switch devices off but my conscience stays mostly switched on all the time.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

After the party

I am not hugely comfortable in social gatherings where I don’t know many people. At this weekend I knew one person (the bride-to-be) well and one (a solicitor who works at a firm where I used to temp sometimes) vaguely.

Overall it felt like a big undertaking for me to go to the hen weekend. It was at a hotel near Cardiff. 
I don’t live near Cardiff. I broke my journey there at ExMyMan’s house. It’s not the first time I’ve stayed there since we split up. Fortunately, we are still on friendly terms but it is a bit odd being there and sleeping in a separate bed from him. Then on the Saturday night, of the hen party group, I was the only one to be sleeping in a room on my own. Originally I would have been sharing with another good friend who was supposed to be coming too but logistics of travel and young children meant she had to cry off. Another reason for me staying at ExMyMan’s the night before. I sometimes get really tired driving long distances.

Overall I was being very sensible. I knew in advance that I would almost certainly take part in the daytime activities and evening meal then retire to my bed whilst the others could go out clubbing in Cardiff. I had a lovely day. A reasonable drive to the hotel, arriving in time for lunch and then spa activities for the afternoon. I had a massage and was told to take things easy afterwards. No exercise. A great excuse not even to go for a swim in the pool. Because of the effect on my MS, I’m not supposed to swim on my own now and by that point the other members of the group had done all the swimming they wanted to.

There was a wedding party at the hotel. Lots of beautifully dressed people quaffing champagne and eating canapes. Several of us hen party women walked past their function room in our swimming costumes with white toweling gowns on top – I suggested we could have gone in and said hello at least but somehow that didn’t seem to be a popular idea. In general, we were not too outrageously raucous at our evening meal. The penis shaped drinking straws seemed a bit out of place for our vaguely mature group. We had plenty of giggles over the How-well-do-you-know-the-bride-to-be quiz and donned our Hen party sashes and badges over our Royal Blue dress code outfits, The bride-to-be had been instructed the colour for the evening was red or green and she looked fab in her red dress – a great contrast to our blues. Here is me in mine: 

This morning, having let the rest of our hen party group go drinking and dancing in town, I was up bright eyed and fresh faced with no hangover. It was a lovely morning and beautiful gardens.

I was able to witness some wedding party guests doing the walk of shame. I didn’t take photos of them.

However, there was considerable other evidence of it having been a good night for the wedding guests. Plenty of abandoned glasses and bottles, some incongruously containing soft drinks:

I’m pretty sure the TV had not been turned round by guests but you can’t be absolutely certain what a wedding party will have got up to especially when you see what some people had left behind.

A pair of shoes, a top hat, a tails coat, a cravat, a wheelchair…. What? A wheelchair! Who forgets their wheelchair at the end of the night?

By comparison, our hen party group were all pretty chirpy but, at breakfast, I was able to hear plenty of tales about what had happened the night before. I can’t tell you them because what happens on hen party weekend, stays on hen party weekend. I’m sure Ronnie will post photos on Facebook soon. Meanwhile my aftermath is a complacent smile at having been well behaved and perhaps a glass of wine to toast staying sober at and after the party.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Don't push me

I seem to be in a bit of a negative frame of mind. Another blog post starting with a “don’t”. This time it’s Don't push me cos I'm close to the edge. The lyrics aren’t exactly right but the refrain rings true with me.

Yet on Friday evening I will be positive. I will accept offers. I will start scenes with my body language and dialogue open and affirmative. I am performing in Kevin Tomlinson’s Charity Olympic Improv Show – do come along!

At the heart of this sort of Improv is honest storytelling, spontaneity, being in the moment. As an MSer I try to live in the here and now. I try to accept things as they are. At the moment it just feels a little like I’m on a tightrope and might fall off at any moment. I felt like that even before I read Funky Mango’s Musings today:

Tomorrow I will go to the hospital for a regular clinic appointment. I will be asked about how my MS is, about my symptoms, about how I am. I will have to confess to doing too much, to not sleeping well, to being in the position again where I don’t feel hungry so I often forget to eat. In many ways, I’m doing well but in very many others I’m not. I’m on the edge. I’m wobbly. My balance, or lack of it, is a nightmare. Please don’t push me.