Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Second check-up looms

18th April 2011.

Spent a week writing my Peru piece, crammed it all into 2,000 words and young Alec the editor of Private Banking Magazine seems pleased with it. I actually sent over 2,001 words and wonder which precious gem he will remove.

The paradise of Peru is fading as the next three monthly check-up looms.

Visit my GP for a blood pressure test. It’s up and so is my weight. I have put on eight pounds since chemo, and before that I was already ten pounds overweight. Help!

It seems very hard to lose weight now. I never thought that would happen to me.

This time last year I was over a stone lighter, had wavy brown hair and thought I would probably never get the chance to travel again. Where is that person now? Gone missing.

I visited a councillor at Maggie’s to help me face up to possibly getting bad results tomorrow, and if not tomorrow some time soon.

I said I felt embarrassed at not having anyone to go with me for the test, or more importantly to meet me afterwards if the news is bad. I have not even tried to arrange anything for this eventuality. We explored that a bit and he told me I was projecting into the future, worrying about being isolated now and at a later date.

He recommended that I try to lessen my feelings of isolation and talked about joining “The University of the Third Age,” which he says is excellent in Oxford. It sounded attractive.

“Make an effort,” he said.

Went to a Holy Week mass at 8pm and felt better. Asked someone in the congregation to help me tomorrow if necessary and she was happily quite willing.

Acton U3A sounded a bit sleepy on line, but Richmond U3A seemed to have a lot of exciting courses, including “Computer Art,” and history courses on Hitler and Stalin.

Rang the computer number. A quavering voice answered and sounded quite shocked that I wanted to come along.

“I am 90,” he said. “I only have two students and they are older than me.”

He said all their “machines” were very old, “almost finished.” “We use the Commodore Programme,” he said. Not sure what that is. He mentioned Alan Sugar and I remembered my hated old Amstrad. I wondered if they used Windows at all?

“We are moving in that direction,” said the quavering voice. I could have been talking to Babbage.

Phoned the lady about Hitler. If she was anything like the last person she probably went out with him or his brother.

I asked her about the age of people in the U3A. “Haven’t you looked it up?” she snapped. I had but it didn’t say anywhere on line just how old you have to be.

“Retired,” she said. I think she meant the old days, when people retired at 65.

She has dropped Hitler and Stalin.

“I am doing interesting people next term,” she said, “so I can get out of bed in the morning and feel cheerful.”

I will ring a few other numbers, make an effort. But I can’t see it somehow.

Paid a visit to my friend Elaine, who looks after Maisie when I am away. She has a menagerie in her flat, rabbits, birds, rodents, guinea-pigs. I saw a post-card in Cusco showing a deep fried guinea-pig and thought of sending it to her, but then decided on someone else with a rather blacker sense of humour.

She spent all winter looking after a stray cat, Sox, trying to give him shelter and food in the garden, encouraging him to come in but he was terrible nervous. After months he moved in with her, but then he started misbehaving towards the other animals. She sent me anxious texts: He has noticed the hamster/ He is too interested in the budgies.

Then worse: He’s got to go/ I will have to find him a new home.

I urged her to give him another chance. He was on the brink of being out in the snow again.

When I went round last night the first thing I saw was this great looking tabby cat sitting bolt upright looking very pleased as he was groomed all down one side by a small black and white rabbit. Apparently the rabbit is mad about him. Elaine has photos of them in bed together. So Sox won’t be going anywhere soon, I am glad to say.

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