Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Never too late to try something new

A few days ago this dropped into my Inbox.

Elaine has left a new comment on your post "The Red Wheelbarrow bookshop in Paris":

"I am a huge Trollope fan and the Palliser/Political novels are quite magnificent. Try The Way we Live Now to discover a truly Maxwellian figure alive and kicking all those years ago. Nothing changes, nothing new under the sun"

I clicked on the name Elaine which led me to a blog called Random Jottings of a Book and Opera Lover by "A commuting book and opera-aholic personal assistant living in the oldest recorded town in the UK, Colchester."

Almost immediately I realised I had been to this blog before, lured there by a book called The Needle in the Blood by Sarah Bower. But what I had not discovered on that first visit was that the owner of this blog has a remarkable mother.

This link should take you to a photograph of her, in a garden in Bath with Elaine's sister.

Elaine writes, "My mother has just celebrated her 95th birthday and is amazingly fit and well and going strong. I think the main reason for this is she keeps her mind alive and alert. She lives in a warden controlled block and though she is the oldest inhabitant there, she has twice as much get up and go as most of them and I really believe this is because she does not spend her entire day watching tv which an awful lot of residents seem to do. She will not switch it on until the evening and only then if there is something she wants to watch."

"Mum took up water colour painting at the age of 90 when the local council had a brilliant idea of taking on an instructor to visit care homes. She simply loves it and finds it very relaxing and spends hours with her paint brushes and paints. The initiative did not last of course, with the council cutting costs so this went by the board, but she still continues to paint on her own. She is also a great reader and dismisses most of the books that she calls 'old ladies books' as rubbish…"

Earlier this year, I had to visit a residential home for elderly people and was disturbed by fact that most of the residents were not watching TV, reading newspapers or books, or chatting. They were sitting in the public rooms in a state of inertia which seemed to confirm the rumours that the staff at some old folks' homes give their charges soporifics.

For the rest of that day I was troubled by what I had seen, and appalled by the thought that, one day in the future, I might find myself in a similar establishment. Then the demands of a busy working life pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind.


At 20 July, 2007, Blogger Elaine said...

Thank you so much for mentioning my mother on your blog! I am driving over to collect her this afternoon to take her to stay for a few days with a life long family friend, also living locally. I have to say that if I am fit and well and alert as my mum when I reach her age, I will consider myself very fortunate indeed.

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