Wednesday, 24 December 2014

In praise of old people's homes

I took a lot of photographs on my trip to Bristol with the intention of making my next blogpost a pretty, witty travelogue.

                                                                     florist in Clifton

And for some reason,despite the weekend being a truly lovely interlude in the busy stuff of life, something about my reportage just did not gel.
I felt like I had lost my voice.
Quite a strange feeling.
Don't know why it happened.
Just kind of felt that the great time that I had was not what I was supposed to share.
Don't ask me who is making these rules??
But it is a pants feeling.

                                              hip light by Pipilotti Rist at Durslade Farm

Tonight is Christmas Eve and I am kind of home alone.
Ramblin' Randall has retired to bed with what may be the beginnings of a not very festive lurgy.
Hairy Hebert senior is comatose due to an overindulgence of festive fodder and The Dusty Muppet is equally out of it because he just likes it that way.
The older two legged boy is at his in-laws......very new feature.....and, the younger two legged boy is out at the pub on his annual reunion.
Always a bit of a lottery as to his condition on return.

So I find myself disengaged from Skyfall and pondering what I experienced today.
Just another vignette from the home where Aunty now lives.
But one that reinforces what I have believed for so long.
Love is all we need.
Love is always the answer.

They get a bad rap; old people's homes.
But Aunty's is a home in the full sense of the word.
Often, in the lounge, members of staff, like the cook, or staff's spouses and or children can be found doing things like singing that song from Frozen or reading the paper and engaging residents in chat and comment.
It always strikes me that surely if the cook is not cooking then the cook should be at home.
So very glad that they choose not to be.

Today there was a group of staff and residents sat at the table preparing the veg for tomorrow's lunch.
Just like families do, or used to do.
Then the sherry went round.
Or tea.
And cake.

If you really wanted to you could find cause for complaint.
Sometimes the tea is not hot,hot.
And sometimes it is a bit gnats.
But, it comes, always with kindness.

Earlier in December the same staff and residents were making wreaths to sell to raise money for the activities fund. There was much hilarity. And the wearing of baubles as earrings seemed de rigour. Staff, residents and visitors all joined in the activity, all shared in the fun, all working to the same end.
These moments almost make me want to hold my breath.
I feel as thought I am in the presence of the ineffable. In the presence of something truly wonderous and not so commonplace in the hustling bustling lives of us young uns; loving kindness.
I sit with this wish this Christmas Eve that loving kindness will flourish and spread like a virus because it is the only thing that matters. The only hope we have.

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