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Time is speeding up … — September 26, 2019

Time is speeding up …

There’s little doubt among thinking people that global warming is happening NOW. With it the massive changes in our weather patterns: rising tides, drowning villages, towns and islands; drought and rainstorms; winds, tornados, boiling temperatures, forest fires and ice and snow, melting ice and hail-storms … and what more to come?

It’s being said that we are TOO LATE to STOP global warming continuing to the point where life on earth may become impossible. We have already lost many species, which will be next and how soon will homo sapiens follow them?

Researchers say that the tipping point, the point at which it became impossible to STOP this process, came with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Since then we have continued to burn fossil fuels and living trees, all of which have vastly increased any natural warming that might have happened.

This isn’t a counsel for despair, it’s a recognition that we must DO EVERYTHING we are able to slow the rate of warming, rising sea levels and the weather effects.

Gaggia Classic, Espresso Machine, steam control knob failure. — December 1, 2018

Gaggia Classic, Espresso Machine, steam control knob failure.

I’ve had a Gaggia Classic espresso machine for more than 15 years. In fact, for the past 7 or 8, I’ve had two. One at home and another in our apartment. They’re good work-horses, producing an excellent cup with an acceptable header of crema, depending on the type of coffee beans you use, and whether or not you’ve got the grind right!

All that accepted, there are a few weak spots which would benefit from improvement. One is the electro-magnetic solenoid valve which, in my experience fails after what seems a short life of about 4 or 5 years.
Another is the cheap and nasty steam control knob which is poorly designed and would benefit from a stronger construction.

The majority of the problems that most users report are quite easily fixable by a relatively competent DIY’er. Spares too are readily available from several UK based companies, though the prices do vary, so shopping around for the best value is well worthwhile!

The steam control knob had become an annoying problem, so I decided to make something rather more substantial and hopefully longer-lasting!

I’d been given a length of 30mm brass rod as a Christmas present and decided to use a chunk to fabricate a new knob. Brass turns easily on any metal-working lathe, so it was simple to turn it to diameter and, using a ball-turing attachment, form a hemispherical end.
Boring the hole to accommodate the steam control valve stem proved less simple since it seems as if it had been made to an ‘odd’ size. However, using a near-fit was successful. All that remained was to drill and thread a hole for the retaining grub screw, and a similar hole for a lever.

When the lever rod has been fitted, my wife described it as a simple ‘Dalek’ on its side.

There is one ‘minor’ defect which I plan to alleviate, and that’s the fact that brass, unlike its predecessor plastic version, conducts heat all too readily. Thus the brass lever rod becomes quite warm, though since one doesn’t have to hold it very long, burns are unlikely. My plan is to turn a small hardwood handle which will be bored to an interference fit to the lever rod and glued in place. Alternatively, I suppose, I could find a short length of plastic tubing which could be pused onto the lever rod, achieving a similar outcome!

Want any further info?

Message me!

Playing catch-up —

Playing catch-up

It has been a VERY long time since I last wrote here.
Much has changed in the interim period and yet everything feels much the same. I retired in March 2009 from the NHS and missed my ex-colleagues immediately, though not the NHS, its liberal abuse of the truth or convoluted politics! I really believed that I would enjoy retirement massively and immediately, but that wasn’t quite how it happened.

A couple of years before I was due to retire, I experienced a workplace accident. I’d twice reported a water-leak from one of the toilet compartments to the facilities management department, both verbally with email confirmation. On the day my world changed, I had been into the toilets and as I came out I remembered the water-leak and went to step over it. Sadly I must have miscalculated because the heel of my right foot landed just in the puddle and slipped forwards, which sent me into what would have become a classic case of the ‘splits’! Whether or not it was the best thing to have done, I still don’t know, but I reached forward and grabbed hold of the door frame, stopping my complete descent!

OMG., the pain was instantly and indescribably horrendous, with regular spasms adding to the discomfort and increasing the level of pain with each event! I staggered back to my desk and collapsed. I didn’t know where to put myself. It seemed there was no position which would reduce the pain, nor could I identify one specific place from where it emanated. I had no option but slowly limp to my car and make my way home.
The following day I saw my GP and the lengthy charade began. It took pain-filled weeks with little sleep before my referral meant that I was seen by consultants, and even then there was no diagnosis about which they agreed.

Later I was to learn, that if pain lasts for more than six months, then it’s unlikely that it will ever stop. Apparently, after an extended period, the brain identifies and interprets any and all signals from the body as being pain signals and responds accordingly. Over the period, I have elected to stop taking some of the analgesics, since the evidence suggests that there may be life-limiting risks to their continuance over lengthy periods. Sadly that means an increase in the level of pain, but perhaps it’s been worth it!

Down the track I decided that I would seek advice about compensation. What followed was both enlightening and grossly disappointing. Once the Primary Care Trust received my claim, they set about denying that I had (twice) reported the water leak. I referred them to my emails, since they bare-facedly denied my verbal reports, despite my confronting the two people to whom I had made the reports. Their response was to state that there were NO emails. I checked my ‘sent’ email box. Sure enough, when I checked for my copies of the emails I had sent, they were no longer present. I had NO proof now of what I had claimed! Collusion was the least of their actions. The deletion of emails from my email sent box was obvious too!

After some six months of pain, and with little likelihood of betterment in my condition, I returned to work. It was an awful experience, even though I was permitted a phased return to work, and to work flexibly once I was back to full-time working. I found that I could manage some 5 or 6 hours of productive work if I started early (usually before 6 am – about an hour and a half after waking) and went home once the pain had become intolerable, then I was able to continue to work from home to make up the balance.

After about a year, I had a relapse, suffering the regular spasms of pain again which made working impossible. I took a further five months to recover sufficiently to make a tentative return to work.

Over time, it became apparent that my claim stood little or no chance of success, despite the evidence before them. Being fair about the whole situation, I had experienced historic neck and shoulder pains before, largely due, in all probability, to the type of work in which I had been engaged in my early work-life. Lifting and shifting heavy weights in small spaces had probably given me long-term damage. That being said, until my fall I had not been experiencing any pains at all. The final settlement offer, while tiny was, I was advised, all I could expect. I settled reluctantly.

Within a couple of years I reached retirement and chose to save a few days holiday so that I could leave in advance of my actual retirement date, thus avoiding any opportunity for the hierarchy to set up an ‘official leaving do’!

I discovered that it’s all very well having plans before you retire, and even dreams about how life is going to be, but if you’re in pain throughout your body all of the time, it’s all too easy to let it consume your life, succumb to self-pity and begin to lose all purpose.
I had hoped to be able to continue setting up my workshop, and succeeded, albeit to a limited extent. It took a long time to work out what I really needed, and how to rearrange it in the short-term so that I could begin work on at least one the many projects I had planned.
Truthfully, the actual ‘structure’ was still very much more a matter of plans rather than actuality, in that the rearmost (oldest) part, which was constructed using salvaged materials long before we moved in, leaked, was close to collapse and unusable!

Over the following (several) years, as well as taking care of our newest grand-daughter, daughter of Abigail and James at least once a week while her mother continues to work, I started out on a couple of my longest planned projects. While I did make a start, it was obvious that my heart really wasn’t in it.

Even after several years taking a powerful mix of medications, pain was still at the heart of the challenge. The specialists had interviewed me, poked and prodded, taken x-rays, scans and used invasive cameras, but there was no agreement about what it was that was causing the wide-spread pain, thus no recommendations for a treatment regime. My doc’., presumably having received feedback from the consultants, tried to find an appropriate drugs regime that would reduce, if not stop, the pains. Sadly his efforts were largely unsuccessful, simply as a result of my condition.

The current mix, using several very powerful drugs, alongside the meds that are often dictated for an elderly bloke, does take the worst edges off the pain some of the time. However, within a couple of hours of taking the latest batch, the pain is breaking through again, and if I should be remiss (or forgetful) and miss the timing for the next, I’m quickly climbing the walls.

All that taken into account, life remains worthwhile, most of the time.

Since we bought No 8 Glenloch View, we’ve spent many very happy weeks there. At first I traveled up and spent a couple of weeks there alone, as my dear wife was still working. It was ‘interesting’, but when there’s no-one with whom to share the enjoyment, it’s not quite the same.

More recently, after my wife retired from her challenging job as staff manager in one of the UK’s largest GP Group Practice, we resumed what would have been a more normal life. That included agreeing a plan for my workshop, and her craft room, as well as the usual essential maintenance and repairs to the house.

I’d been using the smallest bedroom as my ‘study’, which was where I’d been making up my hours when working. I’d been responsible for ‘mapping’, which included identifying unused pieces of land within the area, generating data sets related to GP Practices and other similar tasks. Thus I’d uprated my desktop to handle the vast quantities of data needed. Once that need had ceased, I’d planned to evacuate the room and shift my ‘stuff’ elsewhere so that she could spread out and keep all her necessaries in one place.

The space that I would free up by demolishing the old garage/workshop, no mean task in itself, would be more than sufficient to accommodate the machine tools I needed to be able to use, and perhaps enough to form a dedicated wood-working space. However, as is not unusual, we (my wife and I) did not agree about how much space I would be able to utilise. She felt that we (I) should create a ‘sitting area’ where we could relax without being overlooked and enjoy the sun, and perhaps have a glass of wine. Compromise would be essential to accomplish a mutually agreeable solution!

Following lengthy discussion, much measuring up and planning, I agreed to only use about one-third of the space that was going to be freed up. In the remaining portion I would create an area where we could position our garden table and chairs.

Over the best part of three months, I demolished half of the old garage, and then started to prepare the foundations for a building an extension, which would measure about 10 feet by 9 feet, to the front (sturdily built) part of the garage. That would leave an area of about 22 feet by 9 feet to be made ready for our proposed ‘sitting area’ 

During this period I had begun to try to find some kind of activity which would widen my (tiny) circle of acquaintance. That led to me meeting up with three other men who were also trying to find something to do. Over some months we searched for a place where we could set up a facility which we had discovered was known as a ‘Men’s Shed’. Even at that early stage we agreed that it wouldn’t be appropriate to limit any such facility to men alone, despite that being the model, first developed, tested and proved in Australia.

Eventually, more by luck and happenstance, I found such a space in a local park’s old potting shed. Next I, together with another ‘trustee’, managed to get the organisation recognised as a charitable body, and entered into an ‘agreement’ with the city council to use the space. That entailed cleaning up, repairing and equipping the space with everything necessary to make it a viable facility.

Within a year it was up and running, and that was also about the time at which we recognised that things weren’t working as we had hoped. A small group of people, trustees among them, seemed intent on fomenting division and unhappiness. There were a couple of specific instances where a trustee picked on another who had self-confessed mental health issues. We managed, not without some difficulty, to bring things back to a stable position and hoped that it would not recur.

I had been voted in as chairman at the outset, and during my period in office, found that the term ‘chairman’ was taken to mean that I would do everything, largely unsupported. When I asked for help, there was none forthcoming. I continued for some months, before deciding that my workload was demanding more from me than I was able (or willing) to support. I thus asked for an unspecified ‘leave of absence’. A colleague trustee (already the vice-chairman) agreed very kindly to take on the role on a temporary basis.

It was only once I had walked away that I realised I was suffering from anxiety and depression. I visited my GP who ‘gave me permission’ to walk away permanently, if that was what I needed or desired. That was all that was necessary for me to start feeling better. However, recognising the symptoms, he suggested a referral to a mental health charity, to which I readily concurred. I’d been there before at least twice in my life and knew that I would be helped by such an intervention.

The time delay in being able to gain any real benefit was such that I slipped further down. It was only after about eight months that I was able to meet a psychologist who was able to offer me a short-term course. While I was not comfortable with the offering initially, it soon became obvious that it was an alternative method of achieving similar results to the interventions to which I was accustomed.

I had rejected out of hand the notion of ‘mindfulness’ as a way ahead, but toward the end of the course I was able to discern the benefits of what was described as ‘living in the now!” I had, for many years, been struggling with memories from my childhood, and the anxiety, fear and hyper vigilance with which I had become used. By using the new techniques I was able to reduce the level of anxiety (and associated fear) I had been experiencing. Depression was also reduced over time. Although I believe that any recovery is likely to be a temporary state of affairs, I now had tools with which to fight the negative influences.

I resigned officially some six months after taking the ‘leave of absence’, and although I miss the company of several of my ex-colleagues, I have never missed the toxic atmosphere and prejudiced attitudes and behaviours of a number of the members and trustees.

There has recently been a significant problem between two men who have acknowledged mental health issues and the trustees, such that a petition was prepared and a vote taken to remove them from office and membership of the organisation. It is evident that the rights of the men in question have been abrogated and should rightly have been subject to an official complaint to the requisite authorities. Sadly, this has yet to be initiated! In the meanwhile, the trustee board are evidently operating a rogue organisation, ignoring the standing orders and the regulations imposed by the Charity Commissioners, and in effect establishing a small ‘club’ rather than operating the ‘shed’ under the original stated objects.

In the meanwhile, at home, I have demolished the old garage/workshop, completed the foundations for the extension of the structure, built brick and block walls, constructed a flat roof, equipped the space with water and electrical supplies, installed the machine tools and arranged the original area so that there are a sheet metal working area, welding bench, woodworking space and general storage area. However, the space is very tight and much shuffling of equipment is necessary when attempting to work.

In the last year I’ve prepared the foundations for the sitting area, mixed and poured the concrete floor, built two sections of block walling to replace our neighbours wooden fence which was falling down, reinstated a dwarf garden wall and begun work on making an arbour which will eventually provide a ‘green roof’ for the area.

Oh yes, and I managed to strip the paint from our old front gate, repaint it, make and fit two new steel gateposts, fabricating hinges, strike plates, and anti-theft devices so that it would be difficult for anyone to remove it! The reason is because there have been several instances, locally, of gates being taken and sold for scrap value.

Much remains to be accomplished, including dismantling part of the front garden wall and rebuilding it on a new and more stable foundation. One big challenge is the roots of the street trees, really the responsibility of the city council, which regularly disrupt the surfaces of the pavement, and in our case, lift the block wall, splitting them and bringing them close to collapse.

By the time that’s finished I daresay that the cracks in the retaining wall along the drive will have worsened, entailing a rebuild. Alongside that, the surface of the drive, presently tarmac over concrete, has been badly affected by both a street tree and (historically) by the sycamores which we cut down more than 15 years ago.

Assuming I’m still alive and kicking, there’s a long-held plan to restructure the back garden. Then there is the redecoration of: the lounge; the dining room; the back bedroom, the front bedroom … need I go on?

There I shall place the ‘punto final’ since it’s after half eleven this Saturday evening and I’m overdue a bath and so to bed!

Wow, was it really May that I posted my last BLOG? — February 22, 2011

Wow, was it really May that I posted my last BLOG?

Surely not? I was certain I’d posted saying that I’d finally got the go-kart running, but maybe that was just a dream? Talking abour dreams … but perhaps not for public consumption, might frighten the horses!

Since then I’ve become a gand-daddy again, though to be truthful, I still feel only about eighteen or nineteen. Sad eh? Evie Grace was born in July and weighed in at about eight and a half pounds. Now she’s six and a half months old and has a wicked chuckle and a heart-stopping smile! So, let me check: That’s five grandchildren in this world (Luke, Liam, Tegan, Jack and Evie) d=ranging in age from 14 downwards. had Jacob still been with us he’d have been close to sixteen by now!

Speaking about comings and goings, I heard just a little while ago that one of my old work colleagues at the PCT, Berwyn Williams passed away over the Christmas period. He was such a lovely guy and no great age. He left a young wife and a teenage son on whom he doted. So very sad. It’s interesting, thinking about life and the obverse (death). The other day Evie’s other Gran was talking about how long-lived we were all likely to be becoming, and when we were discussing the likely life-span, she asked me how old my parents had lived – sort of getting a handle on how old we were likely to live. When I said that my mother lived to 87 and my father to only 50, she went rather quiet. I guess if I were to take their joint life-years and average them, I could expect another year and a half of life. Nah, ain’t going that quickly!

The go-kart is still sitting up on blocks until it’s warm enough to tempt me to get back out there and strip and clean out the carburretor. That’s one drawback with two-stroke engines when they’re left over-winter, the petrol dries out and the oil tends to coagulate and bung up the jets! Still, the temperature’s slowly rising and Easter will soon be here, which usually heralds better weather eh?

Damned desktop computer keeps on playing up. It’s close on 9 years old now, and though it was a good one with enhanced base memory and a few extra gizmos added, it’s also driving three extra hard drives totalling almost 3Tb, and among that lot there must be about 1Tb of photos and 0.5 Tb of music. The blinking thing keeps starting and then hanging between the initiation screen and the final desktop and won’t proceed unless/until I power down, go into Safe Mode and then do a full Windows restart. My darling daughter and son-in-law have given me their old (newer than my) desktop, but having run it, it’s slower than mine on a bad day. Still, I am slowly migrating all my essential stuff onto it so that when/if mine does fail (as it seems inevitably it will), then I have a backup plan! I’m currently scanning in all of our old 35mm and my more recent 6cm x 4.5cm slides and negatives … there are literally hundreds, if not thousands. I am amazed at how good many of them are, bearing in mind some of my early cameras with milk-bottle lenses. Today I was doing a batch and came across some I took of Christchurch on one of my early New Zealand speaking tours. In todays newsreel, the scenery looks very different. How sad I felt for the poor folk of that place. May god help them!

Oh, just in case any hardy soul is actually reading this junk, if you’ve got, or know where one is, I’m looking urgently for an old, displaced brake drum from a small commercial vehicle, or a large passenger vehicle. Something about 12″ – 14″ in diameter and anything from 4″ to 6″ deep would be absolutely great! Email me or call if yoiu can help? Cheers.

Had best sign off for now.

Oh, blast, almost forgot. If there are any Mulligans, Leathems or Joynts out there who have connections to Ireland (County Cavan; Ballyhaise Parish; Townland of Tonagh and Thomas Mulligan and Dorothy Leathem from around 1821 – 1825, please, please DO get in touch. Similarly, if there are any Rogers’ or Westons with connections to Whitstable, Tenterden, Bethersden, Chartham or Canterbury, likewise, call or email please!

Love youse all!


Hello world! —
Phew, what a busy couple of months these last two have been! — May 17, 2010

Phew, what a busy couple of months these last two have been!

Phew, it’s been a fun time, well, some of it has!
I went to Canada (Montreal – Carignan) for three weeks back at the start of April, and had little or no idea then that I might never get vback home again. So much for a stable world and easy travel eh? The principal purpose of the trip was to help my cousin’s husband sort out some big milling machines (Deckels), renovate them, get them working and sited ready for use in the proiduction processes of the LittleDeer Empire. Along the way we also managed to refurb the large tumbling machine and start building a new big drum-sander. Oh, and not forgetting visiting Montreal and Quebec of course and sampling some of the fine food that is available in the many excellent restaurants!
Last week saw us back at the apartment in Fort William with our youngest daughter, Abigail, and then having arrived back there was the problem of the blocked drain and the ruined hall carpet to address! I always find the Insurance Companies such a bug-bear to deal with don’t you? Such fun!

Now I am facing the challenge of getting a skip and beginning the arduous and very emotional task of sorting and chucking the majority of the accumulated stuff in the old part of the garage so it can be demolished ready for rebuilding as a proper, sound, and warm structure for my new workshop and a sun-room. I say emotional because my heritage suggests (demands?) that nothing which COULD potentially be useful is chucked away, but stored and used as and when. My grandfather (Ernest James), was a king in espousing this principle, and I guess I have inherited 150% of his genetic disposition! However, needs must when the devil drives/ Oh, and then of course I need to ID a suitable builder/bricklayer to get the foundations, blockwork and floor done while the good weather lasts .. did I say good weather?

I’m still planning to do a ferry/drive across through France and into Italy sometime in the summer in my little ForTwo, you might call it a bit of a project! I do so adore Italy!

Ah well, had best stop for now and grab some shut-eye.

New Apartment … ! — March 4, 2010

New Apartment … !

Oh my goodness, what a peaceful place it is! To be able to simply ‘be’ and watch the light on the water of the loch, or on the slopes of the mountains on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula brings such a restful feeling. The occasional ships and smaller boats cruising or smashing their way up and down the loch serve to humanise what might appear otherwise to be a desolate stretch of water. Life, however, is all too manifest in the traffic that surges north and south along the Achintore Road. Vehicles of all sizes, speeds and levels of noise. The apartment itself is finished to a high standard, though not showy. Our furnishings, we think, complement this style, being neither obtrusive nor diminshing.
The lathe is sold! — January 11, 2010

The lathe is sold!

Thank goodness! Some very nice guy from the Stoke area has bought my lathe and I now have a BV20M sized space in my overcrowded workshop. Still got some things to dispose of if anyone’s interested … ! Bits and pieces like loads of computer components: power packs; processors; fans; memory and loads and loads of leads. Might suit a car booter or junk-shop owner? There’s also a brand new 4" cross vice [£25.00), a Bradbury static wheel-balancer (minus its stand, but works well when held in a vice) [£10]. two elderly but working photographic enlargers (a 35mm/6×4.5cm Gnome and a large 6/4.5cm – half plate Johnson), both of which have been converted to use Q.H light units for crisp edge to edge definition [£ offers], a safe-light and odds and ends of photographic gear [£ offers]. There is also a standard projection screen on a  tripod stand; a projector table and an excellent 35mm projector. Screen and stand together £25.00, and projector £35.00.
Oh and there’s an excellent Bronica ETRS (6×4.5cm) with standard and telephoto lenses; standard flip-up viewer; 90 degree rotational head and an AEII metering head as well as a couple of backs and a lens-hood, all in a fitted aluminium case [sensible £ offers only please].
I’ve also got several boxes of car booters stuff for which I’d take a few £, so contact me if you’re interested. An email will suffice … daveyrogers@talktalk.net.
And finally … — January 4, 2010

And finally …

Thank goodness … Thanks to the free advert on the workshop site, I’ve finally sold my Warco BV20 lathe, even though I haven’t got the best price that was possible, I can at least say it’s gone. A very nice man from the Stoke area bought and collected it before Christmas.
Now I may be able to clear out the rest of the stuff from the old part of the garage, sell some of the surplus and make a start once the warmer weather is here to demolish the rickety and leaky part and rebuild it in high density blocks and d/g windows with a decent roof. Then it’ll be possible to create a warm workshop an a separate sun room.
I still have a number of bits and pieces to dispose of, so if you’re reading this and have a need for anything on the list, give me a call and w’ll se if we can do a deal!
The moving finger writes … — December 2, 2009

The moving finger writes …

Views on life are as different as the people who hold them, an in many cases, multiple views are held at the same time time. The other day, I wa conversing with a friend on email after they’d explained about a distant relative who had been diagnosed with cancer. It obviously upset her a great deal, especially since the family concerned had small children. However, there seemed to be a divergence between the expressed upset and the claimed behaviour, which made me examine my own standard responses and values. It’s obvious that we each have standards and values, even if we don’t recognise them as such. Every time we state our ‘views’ on a topic, the parameters come from some internally held frame of reference.
Last year when my mother died after a lengthy spell in hospital after a fall, I sat by her bedside and tried to understand what she was trying to say through her oxygen mask, and was saddened by how much she had changed in such a few days. Even though she was still recognisably my mother, her appearance had deteriorated so much, and her usual ability to hold a conversation reduced to single words, framed at great physical cost. The person I least wanted to lose was at the point of passing over, and I could do nothing. Over and above that, the obvious pain that each breath took was in itself painful to behold.
The nursing staff and doctors had explained the likely prognosis some weeks before, and although mum knew this too, there was a detemination to hold on to life at any cost. How can we know untilwe reach that stage how we will react to the fast on-rushing end of life? They had said there was a fine balance between providing sufficient analgesia to reduce her pain to a level with which she could cope, and hastening the end. My sister and I were unable to fathom this conundrum, but as days passed, it was evident that the pain was increasing and that she was disappearing within it.
Late one evening in July, I decided to go to my motel and rest for a few hours, assured by the night staff that they would call me if mum’s circumstances changed. In the early hours (about half three), the call came. Mum had passed away a few minutes before.
Standing at her bedside an hour later, I was both sad and relieved for her. Did I still want her alive? Of course! Did I want her alive and in such great pain … no, I couldn’t wish that on her.
Her funeral some ten days later was a quiet event, and though many of our immediate family members (principally my three children) were very tearful. My eyes remained stubbornly dry. Odd really, because when my step-father died and was buried, I was inconsolable, despite the fact that he and I were never really close. What is it about suffering and death that makes us respond so differently at different times? When my wife’s mother and father became ill and died some couple of years apart, my wife was dry eyed throughout, and still (as far as I can determine) hasn’t grieved. I, on the other hand, wept copiously at both funerals.
Does the grieving go inside when the pain it causes us is too great and get locked awayuntil our psyche reckons we’re able to better cope? Or is it that we’ve perhaps dealt with it while they were alive and thus have nothing left about which to mourn? I really don’t know.
The poet, Kahlil Gibran caught the sad but true facts about our human state of ‘regret’, when he wrote those well-known words "The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on. Nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all thy tears wash out a word of it!"
Looking back across my life, there are any number of things, both small and large, about which I have regrets. Thankfully, I have been able to deal with most of those that were more acute while the people involved were alive and able (and willing) to let me set matters right, where that was possible. In most cases it was aout relationships, and my seeming ability to make a mess of them! There remain a couple about which I have, thus far, been unable to make apology. This has been because I have been unable to FIND them again, or, in one case, the rift is unlikely to be mendable!
Literature, and life seem to point toward our desire to put things right before we shuffle off this mortal coil, and there is perhaps a good reason for it. To die with a bad conscience isn’t something most reasoning beings wish to contemplate. Debts, whether spiritual, emotional or monetary should ideally be reconciled before we are no longer able so to do.
As I contemplate these (to me) facts, I wonder whether and/or how my own father dealt with the things (and people) he left behind. His (at least) two love children (me and Alice Proulx) on different continents, and how many more elsewhere. Do departed spirits indeed remain ‘troubled’ by their acts and omissions in the after-life? Indeed, IS THERE an after-life? That question remains with me since God and I parted company some 15 years ago. After the hell-on-wheels that I experienced for how many years, and which revisits all too regularly, I find it very difficult to envisage a higher being, even though there remains an inner ‘sense’ that there must be, should be ‘something’ or ‘someone’ in charge, a creator?