Benevolent Dictatorship: Deceased

There’s a twelve-man tent in my garden and it’s interfering with one of my washing lines.

Last night, it was erected without my knowledge. I do not know what is going on in my own house. But, apparently, some children are in rebellion.

My house, my rules. Sorry, our house, our rules. Nope, I was right the first time. I like to call it a benevolent dictatorship. A certain amount of freedom, an equal amount of responsibility and ‘do as you’re told when I say’.

It works for me.

And for them, apparently.

Because, I didn’t say they couldn’t put the tent up.

They didn’t ask. But, it goes something like this.

Kid:- Do you think we should maybe air the tent before we go camping?’

Me:- (Not really listening.) Probably.

Kid:- I could do it.

Me:- Mmmmm?

So, that, it would seem constitutes agreement now in my household. No flat out refusal. No affirmative, per se. But, a blank, unconscious ‘Mmmmm?’

A subtle appeal to dad, who does, of course, ask, ‘Did Mum say OK?’

Their answer, a version of, ‘Mmmmm.’

So, last night, my three youngest, 6,11,15 and several friends of my 15year old, camped out in the garden while I crept upstairs and gladdened my heart with a King-sized bed and my duvet, remembering soon that I will be there and calling it fun.

The back door was left open all night to allow for toilet breaks in the midst of their midnight feast. My kitchen was pretty much wrecked this morning, apologies abounding from every quarter.

They cleared it up. But they had an agenda. They’re doing it all again tonight.

I have a feeling that my benevolent dictatorship days are fast disappearing beyond the horizon.

Maybe I’m mellowing, thinking, ‘Aw, who gives a shit? The kids are having a laugh.’

Thank God, I’ve got great neighbours.

Psst! Do you wanna buy a plot?

I had a rather bizarre telephone conversation earlier today that I will attempt to transcribe here.

First, let me say, that I usually avoid unsolicited calls like the plague. I try to be polite and let the caller down gently. Someone’s only doing their job. But, sometimes, when they just won’t give in and insist on forcing my ear, I just hang up.

Today was a little exceptional in that the caller had a Glaswegian accent so was eminently understandable to me and she sounded so pleasant and apologetic for troubling me. I decided to give her my time.

‘Do you think I might trouble you to answer a few questions? It won’t take much of your time.’

‘Sure, ok.’                                                         

‘The subject’s quite delicate and I’ll try to be sensitive.’

‘Okaaay.’ (I’m getting slightly worried now.)

‘We’ve been conducting a survey of your local area in respect to funeral provision.’

 (Say what?)

 ‘Have you ever had to organise a funeral?’

‘Well, I’ve been involved in organising one although my brothers did most of it, when my mum died.’

‘Can I ask when this was?’

‘About three and half years ago.’

‘And, do you remember how much it cost, approximately?’

‘Maybe about four to four and half thousand pounds.’

‘And, how much do you think a funeral would cost now?’

‘About the same, maybe. We did a bit more than was necessary but we felt it’s what mum would have wanted.’

‘Would it surprise you to know that funeral costs are rising year on year by about 10%?’

‘I can’t say I’ve given it any thought.’ (She’s selling something. What’s she selling?)

‘Are you married?’

‘Yes.’

‘How old are you?’

‘I’m 52.’

‘And what about your husband?’

‘He’s 61.’

‘Do you have any children?’

‘Yes, seven.’

‘Seven.’

Pause.

‘Seven!’

‘Yes.’

‘I’m sorry for my reaction. It’s so unusual to hear.’

‘That’s ok. It’s the usual reaction.’

‘Have you thought of your own funeral arrangements?’

(Ahh, she’s selling insurance.)

‘Can’t say I have that much. Although we do have insurance in place.’

(That’ll put her gas at a peep.)

‘Do you mind if I ask who with?’

‘Well, one through my work and a couple of others we sorted ourselves to make sure the house would be paid for and the kids would be ok.’

‘So, you’re covered financially. Do you have any other concerns about funeral arrangements?’

‘Em, no, I don’t think so. Although…’

‘Yes?’           

‘Well, it’s just that when my dad died about twenty-five years ago, my mum didn’t want him buried in the local cemetery as it sometimes is vandalised. So, when she was arranging my dad’s funeral she expressed her concerns and the undertaker suggested a new cemetery that had just opened up. More like a garden of remembrance. A beautiful spot, very calm and serene and well-tended. I suppose I wouldn’t like to end up somewhere nasty.’

‘That place sounds lovely. Do you think you would like to be buried there?’

‘Well, I suppose if I have to be buried somewhere, I would just as soon it was somewhere like that. And, do you know, when my mum was buying the plot suitable for three, there was a special offer on because it was a new cemetery – a buy one plot, get one free. So, she bought two. Room for six.’

‘So, do you think you would like to be buried with your mum and dad?’

‘Ahh, no, probably not. I have my own family now and I suppose maybe it would be better to have our own plot.’

‘Well, I’m glad to tell you that you qualify for our free advice. With the cost of funerals rising each year, we could arrange someone to call. And no matter whether you die soon or forty years from now, the price will be frozen at today’s price.’

(I did not see that one coming.)

‘Is that something you would be interested in? Freezing the price of your funeral now?’

‘Ahh, no, it would not.’

‘Can I ask why? It’s a great offer. Free advice. No pressure.’

‘Well, I make it a point of never buying when someone comes calling. If it’s something I want to do, I’ll look into it myself.’

‘That’s fine. Thank you for your time. And I’ll look into that cemetery you mentioned. It sounds wonderful.’

‘OK. Bye.’

I’ve laughed recounting this to my family today.

My children, little sods, are delighted to know that they’ll be fine when hubby and I pop our clogs.

After the laughter, came thought. I wonder, should…..Nah, don’t go there. The garden will do fine for me. The nearer to haunt the wee buggers.

 

 

 

                                                    

 

 

In Praise of Words

Words I Like To Write Or Hear

(It’s loooong. Be warned).

Alluring
Adoring
Anguish
Approaching
Aromatic
Asleep
Alive
Beloved
Best
Betrothed
Bygone
Bilingual
Behest
Beehive.

Clarity
Calming
Crystal
Coorie
Cuddle
Clear
Contrite                              
Darling
Daring
Dove
Despairing
Doing
Done
Delight

Elan
Energy
Equine
Endearing
Encroaching
Elfin
Endless
Filial
Fulsome
Fascinating
Fun
Flavoursome
Final
Flesh

Glorious
Gargantuan
Girlish
Gorgeous
Guffaw
Glean
Gaffe                          
Heavenly
Happiness
Hollow
Heart
Heaving
Hurry
Half

Impish
Imagine
Identical
Irish
Insist
Intuit
Invent                                  
Jelly
Jump
Jasmine
Jive
Joyous
Jamboree
Jubilant

King
Kelly
Karma
Keech
Kenya
Kangaroo
Kite                                        
Letters
Lovers
Laughing
Leaves
Languid
Luminous
Light

Music
Memories
Musing
Mother
Matters
Mighty
Mess                                      
Nutty
Natty
Neat
Nutritious
Nominal
Name
Nest

Obsolete
Open
Ocular
Occult
Omnificent
Omnipotent
Oh                                          
Pedal
Paddle
Pain
Passion
Poetry
Poetic
Po

Quickly
Quietly
Quarrelsome
Queue
Quite
Queenly
Quest                                    
Rabid
Rarity
Royal
Redeem
Regular
Regime
Request

Saucy
Sibilant
Somnambulant
Sassy
Surplus
Surprising
Sincere                                
Tempt
Titillate
Torn
Tantalise
Tantrum
Tender
Tear

Urgent
Usurp
Understanding
Unguent
Under
Ubiquitous
Unit                                      
Voices
Vroom
Veronica
Vacuum
Vacant
Velocity
Violet

Warp
Wander
Wondering
Woe
Welcome
Winsome
Whale                                  
Xeno
Xerxes
Exhilaration
Excitement
Extreme
Expunge
Exhale

Yellow
Yale
Yawning
Yule
Yes
You
Yell                                        
Zoo
Zesty
Zoning
Zimmer
Zoe
Zoological
Zeal

The words are
Unbroken
Ring clear
Sound fine
Once learned, absorbed
They’re yours
And they’re mine.

Words
And their meanings
Their sounds
Their stress
Flexible ability
To mould
To express.

Magic within the Alpha, Omega
Twenty-six letters
Foretold
Manipulate, massage, mesmerise;
Stories from us
Will unfold.

If you got to the end here, well done. A wordsmith, after my own heart!

Moving On

Eyes open.

Mind wide.

Look beyond,

Seek and find

A path,

A way,

A cause for today.

A reason to live

A motive to give

A care for this life,

A purpose

To strive.

A key to the future

A lock to the past

A reason to run

A flag up the mast.

Those hurts

That lie in the past,

See the future,

Let those memories rest.

Gazing and searching

For reasons for that,

Self-destructive

Coffin and nail;

Dwelling on pain,

A source for relief;

Feel the anguish,

The hurt

Then relinquish the grief.

This life is for living

With purpose

And meaning,

With joy for

The very air we are breathing.

All this, so easy to write,

‘Here’s my hurt, see my pain,

Hear my plight’.

All of us fear

And hurt

And despair

The answers we seek

Do not lie back there

In a world

That is gone

Can’t relive

Be undone.

Shout out,

Seek the help that we need

Cry and

Let our hearts bleed.

Then move to the present,

The here and the now,

Begin a new day

Where past is just that,

Gone not forgotten

But experiences, rotten,

And dwelt on,

Taint the life

That we still have

To live.

Sensed

Through my eyes I see

Children at play.

Through them still     

I see

All that is ill

And sick with the world;

Who is hurt

Who is cold

Unsheltered,

Unfed,

Who is living

But dead

To hope

And to chance.

Who don’t sing out with joy,

Who can’t rise up to dance.

Who is silenced

Or forced,

Who has loved,

Who’s divorced

From all that is pure

And upright

And true,

Who kills

And who rapes

Who thrive on

Their hates,

Who seeks,

Who is lost,

Who is maimed

Whose is worse?

No hurt is too small

We all hurt

We fall

And bleed

To be seen

And comforted by

Charity, love;

Love purer than ours.

Through my eyes I see

All that is ill,

In my mind I see

A better life still

For all brothers

And sisters

Mankind

If but one

Loving as if

A father to son.

In my mind

There is hope for all Man

With my heart

I’ll do all that I can.    

In my naivete

I hope this is true

My heart believes

It’s me and it’s you;

 All in together                                                                         

To weather

The storm

The life that has trials,

This is the norm.

A purer belief

In offering

Relief,

A hand

And an ear,

An eye,

A mind that is open

To a world full of pain,

A mind that sees

Children

Full of fun

Once again.

We are the children

Ours, the distress

A family that suffers

Shares the load, shares the mess.