7 May 2011
Last night was the first when our Continuing Care ladies were on parade. In fact, it was just Harriet who helped Alice to get me onto my frame and I walked through to the bedroom and went through the usual process of getting undressed etc. despite me being slightly apprehensive – I hate change – it all went fairly smoothly and I’m sure we will soon get into a routine. Harriet came again this morning with a nurse, Sam, and they put me into the commode chair which was used for its normal purpose and then I was move mouse down three lines showered in it. By the time they came at 7.45 I was up having had my breakfast, cleaned my teeth and been shaved.
I think the process is going to go something like this. After the morning session somebody will come in at lunchtime to help me onto my frame (or when I can still use my legs, hoist me up) and after my walk I will go into my electric wheelchair. If it is a fine day I shall go out but otherwise sit in it until someone appears around six o’clock for an evening walk (or hoist), then back into my comfortable lounge chair where I should stay until the evening team arrives, hopefully at around 10 p.m. There will be days when the routine varies slightly, for example, when I go to golf on Tuesdays, but Harriet seems very flexible, so I think we should be able to work things out satisfactorily.
Yesterday I received the delightful e-mail from one of my past students, Christine Wong, who acted as my guide on my last trip to China when I went to Inner Mongolia it was here that I rode both camels and horses into the famed grasslands. I was the only foreigner present, it being near the end of the tourist season. When we went into lunch I met a group of Chinese civil servants enjoying one of their government holidays, feasting in a yurt (a round Mongolian tent). They invited me to join them but the only language we appeared to share was downing glass after glass of wine. Each and every one of the party was determined to drink wine with me and it is insulting to them if you do not drain your glass. At the end of the meal we went out to watch the Mongolian wrestling. At which stage, well under the influence of the Mongolian wine, to the obvious delight of those assembled, I threw out a challenge to any other 73-year-old present . Thank goodness they saw me for the silly old fool I was and nobody offered to wrestle with me.
In her e-mail Christine, addressing me as ‘Dear Respectful Professor’ and was kindly asking after my health and sent me a couple of photographs of places we visited during my trip. This was the last of 10 trips around China which I always built into my lecture commitment and, as a result, travelled to most of the populated extremities of this fascinating country. I have lots of wonderful videos of my trips which unfortunately I doubt whether I will now ever be able to make into DVDs, as I had intended so must leave this to the next generation. My Chinese students have always been wonderfully attentive and respectful as they still seem to value the supposed wisdom of old age.
The big excitement nationally is the result of the recent council and district elections plus the all-important referendum on the Alternative Voting method. As I predicted the outcome was strongly against change, something like 68% voted to keep things as they are, which I am pleased about. As to the council elections, the Labour Party made very substantial gains, 681 new councillors with the Liberal Party being decimated, losing not only roughly the same number of councillors but also control of a number of Councils. The Conservatives mostly held their own which I suppose from Cameron’s point of view was a really good result in view of all the cuts they are making. The virtual annihilation of the Lib Dems was fairly predictable due to the coalition with the Conservatives but what worries me is that, if and when, there is a general election, if the same thing happens the likelihood is that someone who previously voted for the Lib Dems will vote Labour forgetting the appalling financial mess that the last Labour government left us in. Let’s hope I’m wrong and by then the coalition will have got the country back on its feet and the Conservatives will reap the benefit.