As I now live in what is called a retirement village for the over 55’s I though I would write down my thoughts on this kind of living. This particular village is a complex of one and two bedroom flats. There are two annexes as well as the main building and I believe something like 285 flats in all. That is a large number and could mean around 400 people live in this complex. There is a shop open in the mornings for a couple of hours, a coffee bar open in the mornings for breakfast and a bar open in the evenings. These are run by people who live here. There is also a hairdressers, a charity shop, a games room, a computer suite, a laundry, as well as a small library. The corridors are wide and there are plenty of seats to sit on if you get tired walking somewhere. There are also two atriums where you can sit amongst the plants in comfort and entertain your friends. In the evenings and some afternoons there are quizzes, knit and natter groups, bingo and entertainment at the weekend. Various business people bring stalls at regular intervals so you can buy clothes, jewellery, handbags etc.
This means that you don’t actually have to leave the building at all and I suspect there are some that don’t. Does everyone get on together? Well, like any village there will always be those who complain about others and those who do not like where they live but in general everyone seems friendly.You can stay in your flat all day if you wish or you can go out on the bus to shop elsewhere and you can go for a walk in the small country park a few minutes walk away.
There are several thoughts that have crossed my mind about this kind of living. One is that it could be very easy to do nothing else except what is provided here. Would that make you an introverted person or perhaps dependent on what is provided here? Is this a good thing or not? For me it is fine as long as I can get out in the country park and to other places on the bus. I do wonder if my feelings will change if my mobility goes completely. Is it good to have people of this age range living together? If some residents have children and grandchildren and they visit then that keeps the family ties and the generations mingle together. I am lucky that I have found a few people here who also like the walk up to the pond and that is good. It is early days yet so more friends could be made in the future.
What are your thoughts on this type of housing complex for the over 55’s? Would you live in one when you get older? Are there better ways of living for the older person?
Many things that happen have repercussions most of which we don’t like or even expect. This last couple of weeks have brought about a large amount of repercussions after the tower block fire. I think that last week I said that misdoings were coming to light much sooner than before and that those who did the misdeeds would have to face up to what they had done.
The repercussions from the fire have shown how much our government and local councils really cared about us. They allowed buildings to be erected without the proper regulations to protect us. I generally keep politics out of my blog but this is enormous and has to be faced. Have you thought how people must feel if they live in a tower block or stay in a hotel or work in a hospital that does not have proper fire safety regulations adhered to during the building process and afterwards?
Any fire is traumatic when unexpected and this was a blaze not just a small fire. It has brought up anger as well as grief in those involved and it also is bringing up grief and anger which has been unresolved in others. But it is bringing to light the facts about the buildings too. Many people are scared to still be living in tower blocks in case there is a fire. It is going to take a long time to make people feel secure in their homes but it will also bring up many other unanswered questions about cuts to services and other things such as our health service.
Maybe it is awakening people to the fact that there are other ways of living where there is an equality and fairness in all dealings After such an event the local community come together to help each other but we should be helping each other all the time. How many more traumatic events do we need to wake everyone up to the fact that there is a better way to live?
We all managed during World War II and housing was found or built soon after the end of the war. What has changed in the last sixty years that we cannot find the way to deal with these events?
Over the years I have read an amazing number of books but some resonate more than others. I remember reading the Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing some twenty years after it was written.It had a big impact on me but what I remember most now is the ending where people lived in gated enclaves and gangs roamed the streets. I have since read all of Doris’s books. The second book to make a big impact was Armageddon’s Children by Terry Brooks. From what I remember the book was set in the year 2060 or 2070 and it showed a derelict planet, ruined by nuclear and other wars and some survivors living in high protected buildings and children hiding in ruins and scavenging for food.
I try to remember that these two books are fiction but the scenarios are nevertheless quite possible. I look at the world around me in towns and other places and see gated enclaves with huge steel security gates. I see small gangs on the streets threatening and bullying others There has not yet been a nuclear war but it gets ever closer as countries fight with each other, mainly over land and religion.
I play games on my computer but avoid those that have any kind of warfare. But I do know people who play these games and some of them seem to feel that the land in the game is the real land. I have often thought about our planet and wondered if this is real or are we living like puppets in a reality controlled by others. Scientists have proved that there are other realities so how do we find them and go to live in them if they are better than what we have now. Is what we see around us the real reality? Or is it a fantasy land we dwell in controlled by others? If this is our reality then how can we change it to make it better? How can we work to stop terror attacks? How can we help people to see that getting drunk and using drugs is not the way? I could go on for much longer here but I think I have said enough to provoke you into thinking about our world I’d love to read your comments on this.
It has been a strange week, interesting in many ways and hard work in others. I have started to move boxes into my new home and that has made things easier in some ways and harder in others. So this week has been a mixture of good things and bad things if you like. It was sad to say good-bye to a group of people I have been working with on family history but we will keep in touch. Maybe there is a new group around the corner once I have moved.
The events in Manchester have coloured all our lives especially as we are not that far away where I live and many people that I know go regularly to there. But fear is not the way forward and that is what our current government are trying to do, make us afraid and take away our liberty whatever they do or say. It is a well-known way of controlling the masses. But the way in which people work together after such a tragedy is always for the better. This is how it worked during the war years. People pulled together and shared worries and gave help to all who needed it. But we should not need attacks such as that this week in order to work together or help each other.It is something that should be an everyday part of our lives. But I am still amazed at the racist outpouring that I heard from some I thought were better than that.
On a good note, I have taken some of my blog posts over the last couple of years or so and made them into a book. Many people don’t want to scroll back and read previous posts so a book is easier for them. I have titled it ‘Words from the Heart’, because that is what these words are. They come from my heart and often from deep down. There is space after each one for you to write in your own thoughts. I will post a photo of the cover here at the end. It can be obtained via my web site (www.cerianwen.co.uk) or direct from lulu.com
The hot weather of recent days and the sunshine have brought the rose tree in my back yard into bloom. It is more like a wild rose but it does have a scent and together with the scent of yellow roses in someone else’s garden, it has enhanced the days. Nature is a wonderful thing.
My final random thought is this, peace and love will prevail if we allow it. Send out those thoughts into the world and love yourself too. Set an example for others and don’t let fear in or hate.
I am writing this with one hand. An unexpected event occurred on Friday evening. I was doing something quite normal with my left hand when I got a very sharp strong pain around my thumb. Overnight the hand swelled and the pain got worse and I could not use the hand at all.
Here in the UK we have walk in clinics often attached to small hospitals so I asked a friend to take me there. After four long hours and lots of x-rays I was back home with my wrist and thumb splinted so I could not use them.
Until you don’t have the use of a hand you don’t understand just how difficult it is to do things using only one hand. I think I am being given some lessons to learn this week. And yet I have known people who only had one arm and they always seemed to manage OK. I think that you learn to adapt and find ways of doing things so this is what I shall be doing until my appointment at the fracture clinic on Thursday.
So this blog is shorter than usual for obvious reasons. I shall now go and find a way to have a wash and get dressed without any help. It has made me appreciate what others go through at times in their lives. And also appreciate the dedication of the nurses who are not paid enough for their work.
Earlier in the week I was thinking about this blog and found a really good word for the title. Now it escapes me and I have had to use the words ‘taking things for granted’. However I was looking at what we take for granted, here in the UK at least. Most of us take for granted that we may have a job, a house or other residence, enough food and enough clothes. We take for granted the electricity and gas that power our homes and we also take for granted the water we use. Some of course have other sources of power and some even have a well not piped water but we do have water.
So what else do we take for granted? We often take our relatives and friends for granted too. We expect them to be there for us when we need them and can get upset when they don’t help. We take our public services for granted. I know we pay for them but we get cross when they don’t work. We take for granted that our politicians will do the best for us even though we know they won’t but we seem unable to get them to change.
One of the main things we take for granted is our health. Although many of us have various kinds of health problems we expect them to be dealt with by doctors and hospitals, but don’t fight for the nurses to have better pay so they can do an even better job of looking after us. But the health problem hit hard this week. I have been having a lot of pain and swelling in my hands and wrists and am waiting to see a consultant. But I have been busy sorting out lots of paperwork from years past and this has not helped. I woke up the other morning unable to use my left hand at all and my right hand only a little. Have you ever tried to wash and dress yourself with the use of only one hand and the partial use of the other? It was quite difficult and it brought home to me just how much we use our hands and take them for granted. We use our hands to wash and dress ourselves, to clean our teeth, to prepare food and cook it and to do so many other things it is too long to list them.
So what do you take for granted in your life? How do you deal with things that go wrong unexpectedly with what you take for granted? I love to read your comments some of which give me other lines of thought and different ways of perception so thank you all for those comments and keep them coming.
This week has been one where I have been suffering from what is known as ‘brain fog’. It makes it difficult to make everyday decisions and to do things. But I have had to work through it this week as I had a couple of important forms to fill in and post as well as other things to do with my research.
I find the answer was to do things in little spurts. Do a bit then rest or do something less tasking. Then do another bit and so on. That way I got the forms filled in and all the relevant papers copied and put them together and then took them to the post box yesterday.
But the decision making is on hold. I know I have to move again at some point as my health is not good enough for me to keep managing the stairs. Ideally I would love a cosy cottage in the countryside in a nice village with friendly helpful neighbours. But I know that is not possible as I need to be near help if needed and a good bus service and some shops as well as the usual optician, dentist and doctor. So somewhere along the line I have to compromise but making those kind of decisions when suffering from brain fog is not a good idea.
Decision making is always hard but I do go with what I call my gut feeling about places and people. My instinct does not often let me down. But when I have this brain fog I am quite wary. There are times when I think that finding my dream place would be really good and that if I took this leap of faith I would find what I needed in that dream place. But do I have the courage to do that and hope that all would work out well? Something for me to ponder on this coming week. Is length of life more important that quality of life I ask myself often. Perhaps this is where I stop writing today so I can ponder more on this question ready for a future blog.