Thursday, 30 July 2015

I Ask For Help

I have had to call a plumber, and I'll call him Sam.  The replacement of flexible hoses to the bathroom sink is a step too far for me.

It's not easy to ask for help with plumbing, especially when one has set oneself up as something of an expert buyer of washers (however unintentionally), and especially as plumbing has a reputation for being expensive.

One of my dear friends pointed out to me recently that I'm not very good at asking for help.  She's right. It's a common fault of those of us in the 'helping' professions that we find it hard to be on the receiving end.

Sam's obvious skill and extraordinary toolbox have been a revelation.  I realise that I have just been playing at plumbing.  And it's fair to say that no one has yet asked me to help them to change a washer.

Friday, 17 July 2015

I Plan My Send-Off

I am perfectly well, but this week I said goodbye to my friend and colleague Harry Prankard in a joyful celebration of his life, and it's got me thinking.  His wife, Sylvia, organised it exactly as he wanted: I heard new-to-me stories about his life and by the end I enjoyed a sense of connection with him through the music he'd chosen, the tributes paid, and the photographs of him carefully put together in films by his daughter.

Making a will is an important gift to those we leave behind.  Whilst this statement sounds like an advertisement for legal services or a charity hoping to benefit from whatever resources we may have, it's an important truth.  I've made a will (and yes my beloved sons, it's all going to you) but it doesn't include any wishes about how I'd like people to say goodbye.  So here goes:

Wishes For My Send-Off

Plan it for whichever day is the one you'd most like to skip work
and in whatever place suits you, at any time after the first bus has arrived.

Can it be casual? Could it be a point of no stress for no one, anyone?
I doubt that, since any setting of place and time results in organisation,

but as close to that as it can be, so that if the bus is late, or the car won't start,
if you have to hurry back for a coat, it's no matter, since it won't matter to me.

I'll be free already, you see, enjoying roses and fresia whatever the season,
chatting to Bach about my younger son's playing of his Chaconne, fascinated to see

what my eldest son has run up for my final wearing on that machine we share,
anticipating raised highbrows at the reading of Mary Oliver's Wild Swans,

feeling the poems written for me, spoken by friends, wondering whether the secret
of my tattoo has made it out of the box, and whether it's the cause of the smiles

on the faces of those I love, love, have loved so fully that I won't mind whoever
comes out of my past, of the closet, of the woodwork or the blue for this one last time.

I won't mind not being there only as thought, as the choices I am making, writing down,
wanting to let you know now, for then, how the world offered itself to my imagination.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

I Hoover Up Pink Feathers

It looks like I've been hosting birds of paradise.  I've been finding pink feathers everywhere, and just when I thought I'd caught the last one, another appears.  The feathers come from a boa - a prop used by my alter ego, Someone's Mum, in a performance of Sweet Thunder on Thursday evening.

Hoover is one of those trade names, like Jacuzzi or Escalator, which has a solid place in language.  I've just Googled Hoover and found this definition - 'to suck something up as if with a vacuum cleaner'.

I've been sucking up feathers, but, vacuum or not, it isn't easy.  Barbs on feathers are covered in barbules which act like tiny hooks on the carpet.  Linoleum would've been an easier surface to clean.   I nearly resorted to getting out the Sellotape, or some of the ever-resourceful Jay Walker's (Lucy Aphramor) double-sided sticky tape, and using this as a means of capture.

In the show, the pink feather boa is given to me by the gorgeous Ms Beeton (Amy Godfrey) as a symbol of allure.  It's a device to allow me to dispense with my pink rubber gloves, to transition from overstretched cleaner (equivalent to Shakespeare's Nurse) dusting 'the world's stage', to lover (Shakespeare's Mistress).

That the boa has been shedding ever since is an irony Carol Caffrey (Director) hadn't anticipated when she had the brilliant idea of using this and other pink props.  In the end, I've had to get down on my hands and knees to pick reluctant pink scraps off one by one.

Threesome will be appearing in Sweet Thunder, a Show in Three Layers at this year's Edinburgh Fringe.  Details here: