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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Such a perfect day

Readers who have followed this blog since its inception can not help but have noticed that the regularity of posting has tailed off significantly of recent months. But that the content of the Flickr link in the sidebar now changes quite regularly.

It's the acupuncture, you know. I am very considerably more mobile now than I have been for at least the last four years. And, with increased mobility, comes the responsibility to consolidate that improvement by undertaking judicious levels of exercise.

(NB, as I have alluded to previously, whilst I can now walk what, for me, are very considerable distances, my pain levels have not altered significantly. I don't feel that I am at imminent risk of what the medics call "an acute episode", but walking is by no means pain-free, and bending of any kind still hurts like a bar steward, and carries great risk. I would rather people didn't leap to the conclusion to which my father leapt with frightening alacrity, i.e. that I am "better". I am not. Nor do I believe I ever will be. But I can get out and about a lot more.)

Not only must I walk for my own physical benefit, but I am now able to look around me while walking. This is both a great novelty and a great pleasure. For years, walking has taken every available spoon - and then some - and has required titanic levels of concentration. Now, as long as the pavements are nice and level, and not crowded, I can almost break into a casual stroll...

However, I have long harboured a completely-irrational belief that passers-by know when one is walking just for the sake of walking. And that they mock one for so doing. Absent the excellent excuse for random walking provided by a dog, walking with intent to photograph one's surroundings seems to me to be an excellent cover for the less-interesting walking-to-increase-one's-capacity-to-walk. Of course, it's entirely possible that passers-by who would not otherwise have paid me the slightest heed now regard me with amused curiosity for taking photographs of things they consider to have no visual merit. But I am too engrossed in what I am doing to care.

To my astonishment, I am now taking an interest in weather forecasts. For longer than I can remember, I only left the house when I had no option but to leave the house. On those occasions, I could tell what the weather was like by the simple expedient of looking out of the window. Now, I want to plan my perambulations according to the quality of the light, and I hate to miss the opportunity of pottering about, camera in hand, on a clear, bright day.

Yesterday being forecast - correctly, as it turned out - to be just such a day, I planned to pay my second visit to Another Place on Crosby beach. The first time I went, I went when the tide was coming in. Quite apart from the fact that it is really quite depressing watching the figures being drowned, the incoming tide makes photography tricky and, indeed, quite dangerous for someone who could not, even in her wildest dreams, leap to safety should she get cut off.

But the tides were such yesterday that I was able to watch the figures gradually emerge from the frothing waves: a much more cheering prospect. Although it was cold - even I was reduced to putting a fleecy hat on eventually - it was also quite incredibly beautiful, with clear views across to New Brighton, and the Welsh mountains beyond.

Having gained in stamina since my last visit, I was able to stay longer, and to mind less that, on a beach, there is nothing against which one can lean casually when one's back and legs are complaining. I even went so far as to buy a portion of chips, and eat them on the prom. The local starlings are evidently accustomed to the presence of chips, and hopped at my feet, cheeping piteously. In fact, one or two took turns hovering in mid-air on a level with the tray of chips and would almost certainly have stolen one had I not waved them away with my tiny, two-pronged wooden fork. I would dearly have liked to have caught this on camera but, of course, if I had put my chips down even for a moment, I would never have seen them again. And I regretted having left the last few to the starlings once I had had to chase the polystyrene tray along the prom a couple of times...

The best of the photographs I took are on Flickr. I should say, though, that not even the most professional photographs - amongst which I do not count my own - can even begin to convey what the installation is really like. Maybe because it's too big. Maybe because the movement of the sea is such an important part of it. I don't know. I do know that you shouldn't miss the opportunity of seeing it for yourself if you are ever in the area. Just wrap up warm if you are in any way nesh.

The Editor


Blogger Chairwoman of the bored said...

You went to the 'coast erosion'!

My father-in-law lives 5 minutes (by car) from there, and it was the second place in Liverpool that the late Chairman took me back in 1970 (the first being the Philharmonic).

Because of my mobility problems, I haven't been to Liverpool for 5 years, but I will be going soon, and I shall be going there before I visit the family.

I love it. I love it when the sun's shining, I love it when the sea's wild, and I love it when New Brighton struggles to make itself seen through a grim. murky sky.

And I've seen curlews picking their way across the grass verge!

5:10 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

I want to go every day.

But I suspect work would stop paying me if I did...

5:15 pm  
Blogger Dame Honoria Glossop said...

I wonder if one could make a case for "not going to work" being a reasonable adjustment?

It's strange how "going for a walk" and "in pain" can have such different meanings for people.

7:05 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

I met my mother this afternoon, for reasons into which I shall not go.

Apparently, now that I am so much "better", it is surprising that I still need to cross the road at the dropped kerb...


7:09 pm  
Blogger laughingattheslut said...

Well, I don't have a physical handicap, unless you count wearing really strong glasses.

But here these past few years I've had serious problems in my personal life, emotional and mental scars to deal with, etc....

And I'm not better either, I just decided that I can't spend the rest of my life in bed, so most days I try to make the best of it and get up and take a bath and go to school and such. So people that didn't know about the problems to begin with mostly don't think that there's anything wrong with me now. But people who are supposed to be close to me have gotten this idea that I am now "better" and that things are back to "normal." And that just isn't in any way the truth, and if these people were listening they would know better.

But I really just didn't imagine people with physical handicaps having to deal with this, having people think that they are all "better." Surely they can see that you are still walking with a cane and have umpteen medications to take and doctor appointments and therapy appointments and such. None of that has stopped, and no doctor has pronounced you all well now.

I would think that if you were somehow made all "better" that there would be a big anouncement, and then perhaps you would throw a party or something.

1:02 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

It's a parent thing: ask almost anyone with a physical impairment.

Parents want their children to be ok. Wishing does not make it so, but that doesn't stop them deluding themselves...

It is - or it can be - an employer thing, as well. It's precisely because my blog is read by quite a few of my colleagues that I felt the need to make it clear that I am more mobile. For which I am enormously grateful. But more mobile is all. I still need all my reasonable adjustments. I can't suddenly start attending meetings at the other end of the country, and I'm still not fit enough to attend the office Christmas meal.

Disabled people - and honorary disabled people, such as Pop - understand perfectly. Non-disabled people are generally a lot less astute about recognising gradations of capacity. Which, given that the whole scenario is way outside their personal experience, is understandable.

1:41 pm  
Blogger seahorse said...

Winter creates such lovely pin-sharp light. Just not enough of it. I enjoyed reading this, and your pictures bring the sea a little closer.

11:42 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

It is more years than I care to remember since I have seen the sea from close-up.

And I really do live quite close to some beaches.

The good thing about Crosby beach - from an ouchy crip perspective - is that all the sand is damp and packed, so it provides a good surface on which to hobble.

Obviously, one accommodates whatever restrictions one's impairment imposes. But it is wonderful to have the capacity to visit the sea again after so long...

7:46 am  
Blogger seahorse said...

Hmmm, I'm thinking Weston-Super-Mud for similar sand qualities. That's about where the similarities end, your Crosby looking far more, well, let's say arty. Unfortunately W-S-M is my nearest sea. I have therefore decided to only see the sea when it's sea worth seeing. Plus, you can never actually see the sea at Weston as it's about four miles out.

8:24 pm  

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