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15 Jan 2012

Post 325: What the Dickens?

Another pretty average week if truth be told. The good news is that I have found new carers. They are the South African husband and wife who used to look after my grandmother till she popped off at 96 (quite a lady) and then looked after my aunt's mother so they're practically family which is easily the clincher. Getting people I trust has taken on more meaning in the last few days after I found out one of my carers was using my debit cards without my knowledge. It's the kind of thing you read about in the 'outraged' right wing press. Luckily, not much has gone and most of it can be refunded but it really shows how easy it is to hoodwink vulnerable people – this sort of thing can't really be got away with with me because I've got my wits about me and a father who pores over most of what I spend. I've got a half decent and trustworthy support structure, it scares me how really vulnerable people even begin to cope. It is yet another example of how it is hard to have faith in human decency which is such a sh*te starting point to have but misanthropy seems to be the only logical standpoint, expect the worst of people and you'll not be disappointed (see earlier ). I don't understand the mentality of doing something to anyone that'd make that person mistrust you, maybe I'm being na├»ve, but people in need of help should get help if you can afford to help them in my world, I'm not just talking financially. Me going all altruistic here ties in nicely with a lecture I went to this week about a great philanthropist and undoubted genius, Charles Dickens
– if there was one person who embodied the definition of genius -1% inspiration, 99% perspiration – then it is he. I make it my business to take every opportunity I can to get out of my house, and my mum's best friend from university, Imogen Barker (who lives down the road) offered to take me to her monthly CODFAS lecture (Cobham design and fine art society I think) ( my mother goes to hers locally, called NADFAS). Now, I would probably have never dreamed of going to such a thing but I will literally go to anything to get out of the house. Now no offence intended, I have always equated these local societies with Womens Institute meetings
for the bored, retired, middle-aged, middle-class ladies of suburbia. Anyway, this is not in anyway to slag them off but as I firmly believe that boredom
is the root of all evil I'm jolly well going to go if someone asks me, plus it would not be polite, Imogen is a nice lady for asking me. Having got Imogen a high-vis jacket we set off down the road to the village hall. I used to do this exact journey during my fruitless attempt to learn to walk again when they let me use the village hall. Anyway, that's a depressing chapter of my life that doesn't bear thinking about. So,Where the Dickens was I, yes Charles Dickens. I've been to one lecture on him before, that my friend Jackie Kennard organised back in March 2008 in aid of the trust. Dickins was clearly a fascinating 'one in a million' character who derived immense gratification from entertaining people. He had incredible energy and used to walk over 20 miles a day just because he liked walking. This explains why he could so vividly portray London because he had seen almost all of it. Most of his drive came from his recollection of the hardship of having worked in a boot factory when he was a boy, and his family being semi-detained in a debtors prison. The lecturer said that despite his gifts he was probably an irritating character to be friends with because he always had to be right. We've never met anyone like that have we? Victorian England must have been a crazy time to be alive, but I particularly like the philanthropic nature of the super wealthy, sure there are great acts of philanthropy today but none was so marked and close to home as in those times, alongside Victorian austerity was some absurd and amusing excess.
Today, the super-rich seem to horde and invest their money so they can buy the latest fast car.
Equally envy, jealousy and even anger towards them seems to be the prevailing emotions, whereas in Victorian Britain respect seemed to be offered particularly to those that had earned it. Actions, more than words defined some of the greatest Victorians. Dickins actions were so much more than the words of his writings This all comes under the heading of broadening the mind because I have long said I refuse to sit here and rot – hopefully, the arrival of new carers will further reduce worry in my life and allow me to get on with what I should be worrying about, whatever that is. This is yet more evidence that the key to achievement is drive and energy, neither of which I physically have anymore. What has given me heart though, is one or two of the applications to my gumtree advert have actually demonstrated a bit more gumption than in the past. Perhaps I worded the advert wrongly before but the majority of gumtree applications were from someone who had just read the advert title 'LIVE RENT FREE IN RETURN FOR HOUSEKEEPING/CARING' and spied an opportunity to get something for nothing. I'm not an idiot but the number of chancers who just wrote eg 'I think this be a good opportunity for me'. Pardon me while I swear at the floor for a minute. they'd blindly attach a standard cv that tells me they once had a cleaning job, their English is rudimentary and they know how to use windows, yes and by the way we're still in Bulgaria. DELETE, thanks but no thanks Bogdan. Pardon me if that got me angry, at least this time I got some English speaking applicants who bothered to read a bit of this, had some relevant experience, had a plan, some references and seemed a little bit interested in the person they would be caring for. I apologise to and thank these people but this time circumstance has intervened and we've obviously stopped looking but thankyou to those who bothered to apply properly. I say we because I have been helped by solid gold Sheila, my weekend carer Bianca,
as rude as I am to Australians, there are exceptions that prove the rule. Everything associated with the process is my post stroke Kryptonite. It is so unbelievably stressful and tiring for someone in my state. 'Ah, poor you', I imagine people sarcastically saying but this feels like a matter of life and death... Melodrama aside for a second, Gary and Gwen (the S.African couple who have put my mind at ease and it was good luck they happened to be looking. Hassan and Agnesieka are leaving on the 23rd and Gary/Gwen can't move in until the 17th February which as you can imagine was met by panic but this is where I have been saved. Sam, the kind lad who volunteers for charity Remap said he's got a bit of downtime so he's going to do my mornings until Gary and Gwen move in and Bianca has said she will be about, but if anyone fancies dropping in of an evening after the 26th January you will get the warmest of warm welcomes. I hate having to rely on people this way. 34 year olds ought to be able to look after themselves, the best I can hope for is to be gracious, it's hard to believe I can be sometimes because I was an arse last night because I was tired. I suppose one small mercy is that I am able to recognise this, I only wish I had a bit more control of the exhaustion that causes it -as I'm prone to say 'this f*cking stroke' Also as I'm prone to say, thankyou very much to old friends Caroline and John Jackson
for coming down here yesterday and taking me out to lunch. Caroline is the mother of my oldest Mate Dom Icely, who I've known for more than 20 years, and to someone who's known me slightly less time, sorry if I was grouchy....

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