What’s coming in 2020

It’s easy to plan ahead but, most often or at least sometimes, our efforts become thwarted by events beyond our control. ‘The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley’ as the poet Robert Burns, wrote more than 300 years ago (nothing has changed!).

For Dorothy and those with Alzheimer’s and other folk with a huge range of disabling conditions, and their carers, planning is difficult and not always achievable. Despite that truth we who can, do need to plan optimistically in order to enjoy, to the extent possible, the privilege of being alive. Making the most of how we are, and where we are, and who shares our cares, become the necessary ingredients of our plan as we travel together on the road of life. So here I am, full of optimism, setting out to achieve the objectives of my resolutions of just a few days ago!

The exercise bit is achievable but may hurt! Sadly, visiting Dorothy a bit less will hurt more, but saving some money for a holiday, and whatever else I promised myself (!) is possible. An unexpected complication may well be, of all things, sleep! My doctor has been at me for some time to have a ‘sleep apnoea’ test; she seems to think that my unconscious sleep pattern is the reason for my perpetual tiredness. I have already had such a test about seven years ago and, although there was some evidence of the condition, I refused to wear a mask to bed. Now that I sleep alone it may be a possibility, albeit not an attractive prospect. First things first: I’ll do the test! That requires me, tomorrow, to attend a nearby hospital and be ‘rigged-up’ with head and body sensors and a recorder, drive home thus adorned, and return with the gear the next morning, after a night’s sleep. Watch this space! 

The last weekend of 2019 was away from home at a town in country Victoria. Some dear friends from my local Church have made their ‘retirement move’ and kindly invited me to stay-over after their ‘house-warming’ afternoon. On Sunday after church they graciously took me on a local drive and we enjoyed lunch in a tiny country restaurant nestled in the nearby, still verdant, hills. Visiting that area was of extra significance for me, as I spent about four years living on a farm there, nearly seventy years ago! During that time, I was active in the local Victorian Young Farmers Club; even hosted a monthly half-hour radio program on the local radio station for a while! The YFC in those days was a welcome and new opportunity for me to widen my social encounters and learn an enormous amount about my new rural life. I think all these clubs slowly disappeared over the next decade or so, but I see they have emerged again as a Facebook entity. Clearly needed these days as a much-needed resource for country-based young folk, many of whom are experiencing really tough times, exacerbated by drought and, currently, these dreadful fires.

Revisiting the town was great. I saw how the town boundaries have expanded and the businesses have radically changed. I didn’t go searching, but I expect that the twenty small farms I visited monthly, for ‘herd-testing’ (measuring butterfat content of individual cow’s milk), would likely have been amalgamated and now used for other purposes. Certainly, the local Butter Factory, where I later did my ‘apprenticeship’ as a dairy products maker and examiner, has long gone out of existence! The time I spent there all those years ago provided me with the springboard to my career with an international food company in Melbourne until my retirement. At another time, I will share the story of my life with Dorothy for the next ten years after that, as we worked together in a totally new way with our own little plant nursery! In our retiring life Dorothy, a farmer’s daughter from a different area, was destined to be together with me, close to nature, right up until our recent forced separation.As Dorothy and I set out on the next part of our journey, ‘apart, but together’, our wish is for you to have a Happy and fulfilling New Year! …….Now, what were our resolutions?