Wednesday, 15 July 2015
But before I expand on the above, I need to improve my memory. Actually, I've needed to improve it most of my life, but now I think I might try to do something about it.
I still shiver at the memory of dinner parties we held where I couldn't remember the names of the people we'd invited. I'd try all sorts of stratagems to get the guests to say who they were without me having to own up to not knowing their names.
Getting older, however, does bring the memory thingy into focus. Conversations with friends of my age are punctuated with long silences as we strive to grasp the word, name, thingy that's just out of reach.
So I've taken myself in hand. I'm doing the Method of Logi. I know it's sound bloody stupid, but apparently Simonides in 500 BC found it useful in identify loads of revellers who'd died when the roof of the banqueting hall fell in on them. Also Cicero, a great hero of mine but not of Caesar used this technique to remember his very long speeches. Which is why he was stabbed to death in his carriage on the streets of Rome.
No, listen... The way to remember thingy is to create a map. You populate the map with "way points" and to each "way points" you attach an item you want to remember. The theory is that we're familiar spatially - a room , a route to work. We can recall them with ease. So we use that to help us memorise difficult things.
For example, I want to remember a shopping list of 20 items - no way. However, I know my bedroom ( careful), I know at least 20 places there intimately - I see them every day. They're easy to bring to mind. What you do is associate an object/task/name whatever to each of those places. You walk round your room identifying each place and associating something with each of them.
When you need to recollect the list etc, you walk through your room, identifying each place and the associated object etc. It works, I went to M&S and using this hugely powerful technique remembered that I should have shopped at John Lewis.
It was my birthday on Tuesday. It should have been a fun time. It's not often you hit 68; well, if you're lucky just once..Anyway, it wasn't. The day before we had to take our two cats to the vet to have a dental procedure. In essence the vet extracted the cats teeth and the veterinary practise extracted our money.
When I told my friend that it cost £1,000 he exclaimed that on the national health it would cost £60. I had to point out that cats (nor dogs, gerbils or budgies) , as far as I know, pay National Insurance.
So, coming a day before my birthday, the special birthday Rolex was scrapped and a trip to the local cinema offered instead.
That was the Monday when the cat broke the bank. On the Sunday I walked 15 miles for charity. Frankly fuck the Proclaimers - 100 hundred miles - no way. I was humiliated. I thought I could walk 15 miles in 3 or 3 1/2 hours. I was fit , I spent days on my allotment. No sweat.
I walked with a 65 year old, who worryingly said he regularly walked from Stratford (East London) to Tottenham Court Road - I never found out why. Initially we matched step by step. We were in the front- boldly striding out leaving the whimps behind. Except at 10 miles he effortlessly walked past me, as did all those slow coaches who up until then were way behind me.
The last 5 miles were agony. People stopped and stared at me: old ladies offered me cup cakes and cup of tea, trainee medics took bets on which A&E I'd be admitted to. But I finished it, and I owe it all to two lovely women who spent the last 3 miles shepherding me over the finishing line.
Tomorrow I play my second squash league game. I anticipate total humiliation. No, it's food for the soul - being made to look a complete arse. I will get stronger. I will be relegated to the bottom league - but the only way is up - baby.
Which brings me onto the new door. We've lived with our existing front door for 19 years. We've lived with the gaps between the frame and the door for about as long. Our energy suppliers have benefited from our ill fitting door for a similar period. But enough is enough. Snow piling on the doorstep is attractive, snow being blown into the living room: not.
A new door. You'd have thought it couldn't be that difficult. A hole - rectangular shape -to be filled by a piece of wood. Especially as there's a template already existing - the current door. But no. It's not an ordinary door. It's Sumatran mahogany, straight growth pine, genetically modified beech, machine engineered and hand crafted (yuck). Locks aren't just locks and there's the door furniture to consider. Brass or Solid Gold. And the price for a front door. You could buy a decent 3 year old car for the price.
Oh, I've bought a new saucepan from John Lewis. It has to work on an induction hob so that doubled the price. But it's very attractive and will I'm sure cook my porridge perfectly.
I'm grateful one's birthday comes around but once a year.