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Getting through winter


swilkinson

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Oh winter woes are upon us, we are expecting the coldest weekend of the year this coming weekend.  It must be true it was on Facebook!  Seriously there has been a debate about rising price of heating a home and how a lot of older people are scrimping on heating because of high power bills.  I admit to be one of them  I sit at night with a rug over my knees, I make them anyway so have a lot on hand.  I have a hot water bottle to warm my bed up, old fashioned I know but it does the job, extra blankets and a quilt keep me warm.  It is not a problem for me to live this way as I have always been in a situation where you opened doors and windows to keep cool in summer and closed them to keep warm in winter.  No snow here though there was a sheen of frost this morning, first time for a few years. Because i am close to a beach the warmer temps usually make frost hard to form so it must be colder than usual.

 

I can't say I do winter happily.  I don't heat my house unless I have visitors so I walk around in layers of clothes and  looking like a penguin.  Not a good look but as I am alone does it matter?  I spend a lot of extra time in the shopping centre as it is not pleasant on the beach and going for a walk with the wind blowing is uncomfortable so I walk the mall.  In doing so I meet up with a lot of people I don't see in summer when we are all scattered to various activities.  Yesterday I met two people who I knew in the 80s and have seen very little of since as they moved away.  Both had come back to family events, fortunately neither to funerals which is the main reason people come back home from the warmer north in winter.  Of course a lot of my contemporaries are turning 70 this year so there are a few people visiting to celebrate an "O" birthday.

 

I didn't hear from any of my children this week which led a friend and I to have one of those macabre discussions about how long our bodies may lies undisturbed after we die.  Just the kind of conversation to have over a cup of coffee!  But those topics are often in the news this time of the year.  I do ask my daughter to make sure she contacts me ( or I her) at least once  a week but she and her family have been up with her husband's mother for a few days so didn't remember to ring me.  Her m-in-law had a fall a week ago reaching up to get something out of a cupboard so they were a bit worried, but all is well and she is fine after the fall. She is almost blind but knows where everything is in her own house so manages fairly well.  I  think the time will come when that is not the case but have to say the two brothers do make sure between them that she is called every few days.

 

I also worry about older folk at the church who didn't appear on the previous Sunday, of course not all come regularly so I only ring if they have been away for a few weeks as I don't want them to think I am harassing them.  Some of them I also catch up with in the local shopping centre as the older ones particularly may have a carer each fortnight who brings them shopping as part of a socialization program. The retirement village people have weekly buses for the same purpose.  I can meet old friends that way too if I shop on Thursdays. The world of the widow is a small one I find, plenty to keep busy us but not a lot of companionship unless you seek it out. Which of course I do. I am lucky I have a few people I can have coffee with regularly. I do advise people who tell me they are lonely to do the same although I know that is not everyone's idea of how to fill their days.

 

For people who have cared for someone long term as I did with Ray so many of our friendships broke down when we could no longer do what our friends wanted us to.  Ray and I missed out on so many engagement parties, weddings etc because they were held at venues without lifts, with little hole-in-the-corner bathrooms that couldn't be accessed from a wheelchair, where the venue was not disabled friendly, like one family who said they didn't invite us to the wedding because it was on a boat!.  I would rather they had invited us as at least we could have waited on the wharf to wish the young couple well. I sometime see old friends who say that their daughter or son has been married ten years or more and look at me with a guilty look suddenly remembering that we weren't invited to the happy event.  Nothing I can do about that as it is all water under the bridge now, so to speak.

 

.And so filling the days is what I do. Keeping myself busy can build up though and so I resigned from a couple of jobs I have been doing for a long time in the church. I no longer want to do days that are too long and leave me still tired the next day.  That is not what i want this part of my life to be about.  I have had plenty of those days in the past.  The rainbow scarf I knitted for a friend has been handed over and she was very pleased with it.   I am making another version for myself, yes, some people could get the wrong impression but if it goes with an outfit who cares?  I think as I have aged I am less eager to be seen in a "good light", I don't mind if something  I do is seen as being a little controversial or open to discussion.  As a church person I am following someone who did the same, left himself open to discussion.  The Way of the Cross is like that. Hopefully is is also comforting and brings peace to people.  I did preach on that last Sunday.

 

I caught up with an old friend on Monday, we met at a cafe near a railway station as he is without a car on his visit to the coast.  It is good to catch up with a person who is non-judgemental, can hold a reasonable conversation and knows me well enough not to have to explain every sentence we exchange, someone I feel at home with.  Ray and I used to go on picnics with him and his grandsons, one of whom is autistic.  It was great to catch up on their current doings.  He lives with his daughter now. We can both picture J walking over Ray across the bench he was sitting on on his way to a place he was focused on.  Ray of course yelped out and the boy looked down and said:  "Sorry" and continued his journey.  Life is full of incidents like that, serious at the time but something to laugh at when we look back on them. And this friend knows what it is to have someone special with a disability and so was a great support to me.  His grandkids called us Uncle and Aunty and it was great to know that one of them is to be married soon. We live in a big country and often have friends too far away to visit often but still often in our thoughts.

 

So the decision this morning is whether to stay home to do some housework and some extra cooking for the freezer or whether to dress up warmly and go out for a coffee.  Which do you think I should do?

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Sue :

 I feel some babits die hard, we can afford to keep heating very high, but I find it waste of energy & of  money so will rather keep cold in night  & wear sweaters & stay beneath comforters. I guess I find that more exciting when we are saving money & not wasting where it is not needed. mind you we have plans to donate most of the our money when we die, that has been our goal from very beginning. So I feel its personal choice.

 

Asha

 

 

 

 

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I did go out and have coffee at the shopping centre and found some acquaintances to talk to.  I came home and did some of the housework but as the sun came out later in the afternoon had some time out on the verandah reading as well. All in all a good day.

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Pam, I have two sons and saw them both last week.  I travelled out to Broken Hill and Trev took me down to see Steve in Adelaide.  It was good to spend time with them both.  I'll blog about it later, too tired now. 

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