Friday, October 03, 2014

After The Ball Was Over

Here at Planet Paradise we’re kind of re-grouping after the past year saw another uninvited guest into our lives. No, not the Master of Surprises, but the Big C  had been insidiously attacking Huw without any suspicion of it. Glory be to the wonders of modern surgery combined with medicine,  that that uninvited guest has been given the boot within less than a year. Life continues.


Inevitably, once the ball was over and was safely kicked into touch, that old chestnut happened – a visitation by the Master. A fleeting one, no doubt, but one which caused me to revisit old diary entries about accepting these visitations, the title of which was  initially ‘Reactive Acceptance’.  A heavily  edited version of what I once wrote….

‘I allow MS into my life on my terms, accept that it is there but put it in the ‘naughty corner’ paying it occasional lip service; keeping up the platitudes (metaphorically speaking of course). Then when MS throws a childish tantrum, I react calmly instead of fighting, because if we fight then we’re already doomed to have a label of ‘failure’ just because of the nature of the condition  – and what does that label do to us emotionally?'

So how do I react ?

I treat it as a hurdle, not one to climb over, but to be got around gently- on my own terms and my terms alone because I very much like to be in control of my life. I know me better than anyone else so  I make my own guarded but informed choices about what suits me best.
What suits me best in the aftermath of our mutual battle with a guest so vile that it doesn’t even deserve to be named, is nothing more than sleep.

At the time of writing I’ve slept a whole three nights of quality and uninterrupted sleep, eight hours at a time, and unashamedly, three whole days apart from eating, cooking and naturally my Photo a Day Project. 

I’ve already had enough now though of that malarkey and very much looking forward to next week, one where we’ll be celebrating the entry and exit out of my body, of a very real mortal-being nicknamed Worm, the wriggliest of babies but thirty years down the line, a giant of a man in very many ways.  Bring it on. ........ oh and I'll sneak a pic of him at three years old simply because I adore this one - ignore the antimacassar (another story) .....and a quote in relation  to it..

          The most beautiful moments always seemed to accelerate and slip
               beyond one’s grasp just when you want to hold onto them for
as long as possible.”― E.A. Bucchianeri

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It's not for the love of the money

It’s not for the love of the money
Or those things that tear us apart,
It’s for times we can share and the times we can care
To follow an act of the heart.
And it’s not for the praise or the glory
Or those things that just fade away
It’s for   living some how in the here and the now
And facing it all day by day.

These are words by the late John Wright from the John Wright Band’s album/CD ‘Language of the Heart' which is unavailable as a web link unfortunately.

The lyrics  accompany the above pic because I had the privilege on January 15th this year of travelling to Cardiff and taking this, one of official photographs for MS Society Cymru at The Principality Building Society’s ‘handover’ as their nominated Charity of the Year. In this photo, to the front  left you’ll see the CEO of The MS Society, Michelle Mitchell with her counterpart at the Principality to her left, and to the left again a staff member who had her hair shaved to raise funds for the charity.

What happens quite often after an official photo shoot is that I rarely get to see the end product. It was with great joy however that I saw this poster in my local branch when I popped in for tickets for a local charity function – a fashion show for MS Cymru at Morriston Golf Club on Thurs.  Oct 9th.

John Wright's lyrics came alive  in my head when I saw it because the reason I do so much photography is definitely not for the praise or the glory, neither the money. The reason I do it can be read here ( scroll down to Page 5 ) of THE UK MS Register’s Newsletter where I explain it more clearly.

I received far more that day in intangible terms compared with anything I gave myself. 

“For it is in giving that we receive.” ~ St. Francis of Assissi

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Myfanwy the Earworm

Two weeks ago I went to bed with an earworm, and by that I don’t mean that I’ve invented a new nickname for Huw, but it’s one of those tunes you just can’t shake out of our head. It happened again last night, same earworm, same song. Thankfully it wasn’t unpleasant such as Joe Pasquale’s “I know a song that’ll get on your nerves, get on your nerves, get on your nerves etc. etc” Familiar with it? If so, then you’ll be sorry you’ve read this because I bet that’s ringing in your own ears already.
The earworm is unquestionably the greatest love song of all for those of us fortunate be born in Wales, for those of us with  music and poetry running through our veins.

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of hearing and seeing Bryn Terfel singing this great love song ‘live’ in Swansea’s Proms in the Park and just couldn't shake it off for days.  Then  last night I attended Dunvant Male Voice Choir’s Annual Patron’s concert  at The Brangwyn Hall, Swansea where they sang  an a cappella rendition of it. You could have heard a pin drop during the performance- well no, you couldn’t  have because you’d have been as mesmerised as I was.  

Have a listen yourself to The Morriston Orpheus Choir sing  Myfanwy  whilst you view photos of Planet Paradise, and I dare you not to have non-MS tingles down your spine.

Of course as is invariably the case, a lot of the feeling is lost in translation but you can read it in English here and all about its composer Joseph Parry.

The Brangwyn Hall itself has recently undergone a major refurbishment and I must say it’s looking good, even though they’ve swapped the ladies and gents toilets around which needless to say caused a bit of confusion and some embarrassment to many last night.
Just being at The Brangwyn took me back to the days when I performed there myself, but even further back to school Speech Days where we’d gawp with embarrassment, stifling  giggles, as you do at that age, at the semi naked figures in the famous Brangwyn Panels.

Talking of ‘Welshness’, there’s a saying ‘three times for a Welshman’ so will I once again in the coming few weeks take Myfanwy the Earworm to bed with me, I wonder ?

“Music has charms to soothe a savage breast" ~ William Congreve

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tales of the Riverbank

Life on Planet Paradise gets richer and richer despite its physical limitations although if I’m truthful, then the cognitive malfunctions now outweigh the physical ones.  The joy of being at such an age is that friends from the past start retiring from their careers giving us a chance to meet up and rekindle our mutual interests. Such is Life with the Master of Surprises when you find yourself pushing 60 however,  is that that forgetting to take a mobile phone, aka lifeline,  means that the friend who drives six miles to your home then six miles back into town is begged to return to pick up the lifeline before we embarked on today’s adventure.

Finally we had  lunch  at  CafĂ© Twocann, Swansea Marina, then we boarded The Copper Jack, Swansea's Community Boat for a trip up river following the Heritage Trail of the past copper industry which Swansea was famous for. I haven't kept copies of shots  which I've captured in the past of the actual barge,  neither could I take shots from where I was sitting because of rain on the windows. However the guide spotted this Grey Heron ahead so I moved quickly to the front of the boat and shot this through the drier window.  A fascinating trip learning even more than I knew already about our Industrial Heritage but also interesting to see the cormorants, moorhens, and other birds in the water and on the riverbank.  Also a lesson learned: keep husband’s mobile phone number in notebook in case you forget your phone.

                              “ Time moves in one direction, memory in another” ~   William Gibson

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Missing you

                                                   I glimpsed at the sofa.
                                                   The cushion you lean on
                                                   Still has your indentation
                                                   On it.
                                                   I miss you

                                                   And so I’m leaving it like that.

                                                        "There's no fool like an old fool."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

An Oeuf is Enough - excerpt from Stumbling Along (c) Eiona Roberts 2005

This is an excerpt from my book Stumbling Along  - a Journey with the Master of Surprses (c) Eiona Roberts 2005. The setting is Lille  in France. Please do not reproduce in any form without prior permission from myself, the Author.
......there was a moment that week when I thought that an oeuf is enough!  I’d lost a lot of weight in the preceding year and none of my rings fitted me.  I hadn’t worn my wedding ring for nine months.  Huw was none  too happy about this and wanted to buy me a new ring; not to replace the old one, but simply as a gesture or symbol that we are actually married (Ref 1st Chapter about the Marriage Certificate) 
Because I need many power naps during the day, he’d left me asleep in Room 101 (ref: previous chapter) for a few hours and when he got back, he declared he’d found a department store  which had a fab jewellery counter.  Lille has many jewellers and shoe shops, far too many in fact for a shopa-a-phobic, but he decided on this one and dragged me there kicking and screaming - not!

I saw one I liked immediately, but the assistant had to try to find someone with enough command of the English language to serve us.  I was wearing trainers on my feet because I’d been exercising my legs a bit too much for my liking earlier in the day so due to the heat in the store my ankles had swollen  up quite spectacularly and looked like two small cauliflowers.  I had no intention in being there a long time.

Huw tried to pay with one of his pieces of plastic and that’s when the bother started.  It wouldn’t swipe.  The chic French lady started getting bothered and kept on swiping the card back and fore on the side of her bum, I assume in an attempt to clean the magnetic strip.  Then another chic lady appeared and did the same.  Then a supervisor was called for; she also swiped it on her bum too, but also very sexily put a bit of spit and polish on the hologram, all to no avail.
I offered to pay with my Flexible Friend but no, there was a matter of principle at stake here.  We waited and waited, not very patiently in my case, because I had been half way through eating a salad baguette and the lettuce in it was wilting - and so was I.

I had asked if I could wear the ring and was told at first that I could but then I found myself being asked to take it off and place it on the counter, whereupon two red nail-varnished French fingers delicately and daintily picked it up and replaced it in its box and put it behind the counter out of reach and out of sight.

The next thing we noticed, much to our astonishment, was a security man appearing but I was so hot and tired that I was literally propping myself up with my chin on the counter and couldn’t have given a flying  FGS if he’d strip-searched me; at least I would have cooled down, though I doubt if I would have been able to get my cauliflower-ed feet back into my trainers.  I felt like telling them to stick their ring where the sun don’t shine but I was so tired I couldn’t have said it clearly in English, let alone in French.

An hour and two phone calls later, the card was accepted.  Then the original lady needed Huw to write his full name and address down on paper so she could type out a proper receipt and Certificate of Value.  I hope you’re not losing the plot yet, because I was losing the will to live very rapidly by then.

After every ‘i’ had been crossed and every ‘t’ dotted, or something like that anyway, she asked which country we came from (Huw had already written UK on the paper).  He said, “Aux Payes de Galles,” and was given a very smug look and gallic shrug which hinted, “That explains a lot.”  It’s a very beautiful ring; I wear it to death.......................