I am not good at being ill.
One of my great aunts made, as far as I can work out, an entire life out of having a ‘delicate heart’ and therefore had to be cossetted and due attention to her frailty had to be given to preserve her life. Her very, very, very long life. I think she outlived all of her sisters who had rather more sturdy hearts! But they hadn’t worked at ill health in the single-minded way that she had.
Anyway, some accept illness, some fight illness and some have illness gifted upon them. My compact with god was that I would be a blood donor as long as I was kept out of hospital and never had to use any of my own liquid contributions, or indeed those of anyone else. As a sub-section of this divine agreement there was an acceptance that one-day’s incapacitating illness a year would be acceptable as long as the medicine to get better was a few hours bed rest.
Generally speaking this agreement has worked well. I do have a couple of chronic conditions, but those don’t really count as they tend to go on and do their thing as a sort of subtle counterbalance to glowing health and are dealt with my daily pill taking, in the same way that my eyesight is ameliorated by the wearing of contact lenses. So a day’s illness every other year or so; taking to one’s bed; getting better has been the general run of health in my life.
Now that I Am Of An Age I get a yearly flu jab and that then tends to limit my seasonal discomfort to a few sniffles and an occasional little cough.
It does not account for the generosity of partners, whose cough, runny nose, sore throat and irritating headache over the left ear is a gift that I have been trying to get rid of for the past week.
I got better (as I do) and even had an extended telephone conversation with Dianne with neither a sniff nor a liquid cough as a sure sign that the mucus had dried out when, uniquely in my experience, I had a relapse during the night and woke up much worse that I had been! Unprecedented. Since then I have had to cancel my Spanish lesson and start wandering around with a toilet roll to mop up what seems to be the effluent from some sort of factory in my nose.
I have abused the reality that you can get massive (1g) painkillers over the counter in this country and then had only patchy pain free results.
I have slept in!
That last admission is shocking and a clear indication that Something Is Wrong.
Having said all that, I do think that I am now getting better. But it has been a salutary reminder of the fact that next United Nations Day I will of an age where virtually all the movers and shakers of the past had long gone to their graves. With the signal exception of the painter Titian who, it is said, and who am I to disagree, did not complete his finest work until he was in his eighties. I have no intention of searching my mind to unearth (perhaps the wrong word) more octogenarians (though Shirley Bassey and The Pope spring to mind, but let it go, let it go) to encourage me to consider that there are decades of useful life ahead of me - I am much more concerned that the life that is left is not filled with snot and snorts.
The illness that has laid me low is the sort that precludes intellectual activity, so I have been watching marathon sessions of continuous episodes of The Big Bang Theory - and I still can’t sing along with the opening ditty! I have very much enjoyed the experience, but as I get better, I find the need for more of that particular drug lessening. It is always a good thing to find a self-weaning comedy programme!
From time to time as the programmes came and went I did manage to drag my consciousness from its mucus filled nasally blocked dungeon to make some interestingly perceptive apercus about what I was watching - but alas, those pithy observations are now in the same place as the recipients of my nasal discharge.
As I have convinced myself that I am getting better, I have advanced to watching Westworld, the major delight of which is watching the acting and more particularly listening to the enunciation of Anthony Hopkins. He is one of those British character actors who can make the most banal piece of dialogue sound profound. His vocal mannerisms may be, uh, mannered, but by god they make you listen. An unexpected pause, a slight slur, and in-drawn breath, a half look and an impeccable sense of timing - continuous pleasure.
As opposed to the political situation in Catalonia and Spain.
We have had a sort of apology for the brutality of the Spanish police by the senior representative of the Spanish Government in Catalonia. Not from the central government you understand, where our clueless President still refuses to concede the need for dialogue and compromise.
The latest piece in the browbeating of Catalonia is the action of a couple of very big banks that have threatened to move their headquarters outside Catalonia so that they are still in the EU if the government declares UDI.
And that last paragraph gives the wrong impression. As far as I can tell, the banks are threatening to move their registered offices out of Catalonia. Not quite the same thing - as any two-bit shady organization hoping for a bigger return on their capital will tell you. We can hardly look to the banks as paragons of ethical steadfastness: they go with the money and wherever their financial lawyers say they can get the best deal. So this form of financial blackmailing is hardly new and it would be interesting to see the real outcome of moving a registered office rather than an entire organization with all its real estate.
The propaganda war is hotting up in Spain and the ‘interpretations’ of reality that we are presented with on television would gladden the heart of a nit-picking pedant like Saint Augustine. Jesting Pilate would have a field day with the varieties of truthfulness on daily display.
The Socialist party of Catalonia is opposed to independence and they asked their followers to take no part in the referendum. They have now asked a judicial court to block the proposed sitting of the Catalan parliament on Monday where the results of the referendum were going to be put to the representatives and where a possible UDI could be declared.
I do have some sympathy with those political parties like PP, PSOE and Cs (and their Catalan counterparts) who opposed the referendum and played no part in it. This is a perfectly good position to take. But. And the big ‘but’ here is that when the referendum looked as though it was actually going to happen, everyone should have piled in and either forced the minority right-wing PP government to come to some sort of settlement with the possibility of a fully legal referendum at a future date in Catalonia, or voted ‘no’ in the referendum. As it is now, we had over two million people defy the central government and, in spite of appalling police brutality and obstruction cast their votes.
The other parties have been wrong footed. The vote could never have taken place if the political parties had done some politics. But they didn’t. And they suddenly have to deal with a disastrous/farcical situation where they fulminate about the grotesque obscenity of people casting a democratic vote.
OK, you can debate ‘legality’ and ‘illegality’ and ‘democracy’ and ‘liberty’ and ‘freedom’ and all those other high sounding words - but the reality of the situation is that a vote has been held, votes have been counted and a president is poised to declare UDI from Spain. The posturing of the opposing political parties seems woefully inadequate and the ‘solutions’ that the government of Spain has suggested are ultimata rather than bargaining positions.
Does the Spanish government really want to send the ‘police’ in again? Augmented by troops? Do they really want to invoke article 155 of the Constitution and take over the government of Catalonia? Do they really want to stick to their inflexible standpoint of absolutely no negotiation about a binding referendum some time in the future?
From the outside it must seem, especially about the disastrous pictures of police brutality, that something must give. Some reason must prevail. To which I say, live in Spain for a few years and see exactly how this minority PP government acts and reacts and then you will consider that anything is possible.
God help Catalonia!