Scientific research delivers new
knowledge bringing even more
New limits are set for what
pregnant women eat, and limiting
cheese and processed meat. In town
looking for lunch, a family mother
to be and I had to find a cafe
with suitable food for lunch.
At our Christmas Day family lunch
my niece closely cross questioned
me as to the ingredients of my salad
and separate dressing to check
what her children will be eating.
My long time friend Nana has
always carefully watched the food
for herself and her family, now she
backs up the younger generation.
She seems to have ceased her
campaign to make me eat sweet
potato, and abandon potato after I
took my stand, fought back.
Yuck ! I can’t stand sweet potato
told her it is bad for me.
I do love potato, will always eat it.
Miser mongers keep your
misery to yourselves.
In the sports and exercise centre
staff teach exercise, do massage
and therapy. We meet there each week.
Two young people with sports and
exercise degrees work with people
building up sports muscles, as well
as those with limited movement.
The man before our groups leaves on
two walking poles, breathing heavily.
A young woman doing a master’s degree
teaches our group of women in their
seventies and eighties. We are her
dissertation project and pay a tiny
fee for her considerable knowledge.
We tell her about our medical
conditions, our high blood pressure,
diabetes, an irregular heart that
puts its owner in hospital, torso
and hip problems distorting posture.
She teaches us exercises to keep us
fit, lessen our physical problems.
She tests us on key exercise
every several weeks.
We oldie are a new demographic
in a new market as we age.
My diabetic feet are so improved
I am quite happy with this.
I rarely saw formal newspaper
notices be they public, births or
deaths, unless expecting the event.
Death notices passed me by, others
told me of deaths, funerals of
friends, family members, co workers.
These days family and friends are
more scattered. I am no longer in
paid employment. I hear of deaths
and funerals less frequently.
I missed two deaths and funerals
I wish I had not missed.
A friend’s husband to whom
she remained attached died after
a protracted illness. She told me
later on, I regret missing his
funeral for her sake.
A former co worker died of her
moderate illness suddenly, other
co workers told me later.
She wasn’t expecting to die,”
one of them told me.
“She was caught by surprise too,”
Origami intricacies tangle skeins
in the brain, tie knots in fingers.
Many contortions in a tiny piece of
paper create strange objects, creatures.
For her eighth birthday Auntie Jo
gave the eight year old an origami
book to foster her love of paper craft.
Each week after her maths tutorial
the eight year old quickly organises
the after noon high point – origami.
Now for the harder objects in her
book. She has drawn up a list of
objects with only two pages of
instructions for Auntie Jo who won’t
do longer ones, who flatly refused
to make the six page dragon.
Auntie Jo folds, the eight year old
repeats the fold, looking at the
book’s instructions, fully engrossed
in her paper creation.
She stays apart from our little five
flats community along our drive.
The rest of us from our four flats
chat in passing at the letterboxes,
hanging washing on the lines along
our back path, leaving or arriving at
the carports, hanging washing there
on wet days , putting out or bringing
in our recycling bins.
But the woman apart stays separate,
unemployed, we see her occasionally
walking out to the footpath, returning
with supermarket bags, hanging out
or bringing in washing in the early
morning or late evening.
“Oh she never answers her door,”
laughed cheery chatty flat three.
Certainly she didn’t when I knocked
as her carport gutter overflowed.
One day I met her at the letterbox.
She put the junk mail in the recycling
bin, also her letters in long envelopes.
“Nope, I never read them,” she said.
I remembered doing the label for
her recycling bin’s microchipping.
I remembered she knew nothing
of our broadband fibre installation
until I told her a week later at
one of our rare encounters.
I thought of our family’s dyslexic
eight year old, her tricks to avoid
reading, how hard she worked at school.
I think our woman apart
finds it hard to read.
Six months ago last Friday
at 4 pm my bank’s website showed
a large notice saying all Christchurch
staff were safe inside their buildings
while the city was in lock down.
At 6pm the TV news continued to portray,
explain the mosque massacres.
Six months ago last Saturday
the morning newspapers had a half
page photo of the Christchurch park
Across the bottom a heavily armed
policeman led many walking wounded
from mosque to hospital as another
armed policeman further back watched
those still coming into the park.
Six months ago last Monday
in a TV interview an experienced
ambulance officer repeatedly said
“There was a river of blood flowing
down the mosque front steps.”
Talking heads keep talking.
Action people are busy doing.
The Muslim community open
up to their neighbours.
Christchurch remembers the
tragedy of six months ago.
Six months ago this weekend
fifty one people at prayer
mown down by machine gun fire
killed in cold blood.
Many more survived injured
with multiple bullet wounds.
Others mown down outside
lifted into cars by passers by
driven to the hospital.
First responders lifted the
wounded out of the mosque
then lifted out the dead.
Hospital staff spent long hours
treating long lines of injured.
Council took tributes from
the main road flower wall
for display in remembrance
at the city art gallery.
Memorial gatherings in the park.
Silent majority speak out.
Stop the racist minority.
Thirty years ago.
Three close relatives
dead within eleven weeks.
A cousin near my own age
dead from a heart attack.
A legacy from his father.
His mother my aunt dead five
weeks later in shock at both
her children predeceasing her.
My mother dead after
lengthy illness weary
of this dragging on life.
Three close relatives
dead within eleven weeks
thirty years ago.
Our lives dispersed from
a gaping hole in the wider
The younger generations
drifted from each other in
their various new directions.
I moved far from our home
city, all supports dissolved
from this gaping hole.
Ten year ago I watched a
hefty strapping six foot man in
his sixties quickly putting hands
into the sleeve holes of his coat,
draw his coat on to his shoulders,
shrug himself into it.
Last month this same man in his
seventies could not reach round
to the coat’s sleeve holes or find
them with his hands.
His six foot middle aged son
held the coat up, guided his
hands into the sleeve holes.
So hard to watch.
The elderly future that seemed
so far off for years has now
spread through our generation.
With poor co-ordination and physical
skills in my school days I missed large
ball catches, aimed poorly, missed
catching and batting small balls out
on the field, failed gymnastics.
With relief I abandoned all that after
finishing school apart from brief
flirtations with badminton and
Scottish Country Dancing. I did
walk long distances to shops and
buses in my younger carless days.
My energetic middle aged gardening
years ceased when I became a telecom
operator working strange hours.
I went back to walking when my
back objected to hours of sitting.
Two years ago my senior body
faltered. Diabetes set in. The soles
of my feet went numb when cool
tingled when still. Not good.
So now I go to fitness class for one
hour every week, do half an hour of
exercises most other days. My feet
now behave normally – what relief !
Good for balance, ” said the doctor.
“The elderly get the greatest benefit
from exercise,” said the skin cancer
expert. What would he know ?