28 July 2012
Shortly before we went to bed last night there was a knock on the door, which turned out to be some local schoolchildren delivering the local paper. The reason for knocking was then wondered whether we knew we had a hedgehog in the garden. They had spotted a tiny baby hedgehog on the garden path between the gate and the house. Well, we’ve always known that we had at least one adult hedgehog and now we must assume there were at least two-and you tell one hedgehog from another?-As this baby was probably conceived and born in our garage where they have made a nest. Alice, went out and retrieved the little thing, and after feeding it released it in familiar territory in the hope that it found its way home.
As I sat waiting for Alice to return which seemed an age after 10 to 15 min, my imagination took flight and I wonder what on earth are you here for some reason she did not come back. (She had had an accident or a heart attack). This is rarely anxiety is beginning to kick in. I realise more and more are terribly vulnerable I am. I cannot move and therefore get to the telephone and have no way of attracting attention to anyone outside the house. Of course, these sort of fears are generally unfounded as the likelihood of anything happening Alice during a 10/15 min absence is extremely slight. However, does not stop one from worrying and getting very edgy over the smallest thing – a serious itchy nose, or a lump of food stuck in your teeth. Being ugly unable to do anything about this sort of irritation, in itself requires the patient to exercise calm and logic. In the meantime I have been given some’ anxiety’ pills which I could take three times a day but today can only succumbed to one pill late in the evening. Fortunately, I have the OT from the Arthur Rank Hospice in Cambridge, coming to see me on Tuesday to discuss anxiety and other issues.
Alice has taken to reading to me extracts from The Times, or the parish magazine, of items which she thinks might interest me. This morning she found an obituary for Billy Griffiths, who was described as an RAF lorry driver who was blinded and lost both hands while a Japanese prisoner of war, but went on to found his own haulage company. There were two things to be said about this obituary. Firstly, it made me feel very foolish to get anxious over incredibly small things. Compared with Billy’s pain and suffering and ultimate disability, mine shade into insignificance. The second fascinating thing about this obituary was that whilst in the Japanese prisoner of war camp. He was operated on by Lieutenant-Colonel (later Sir Edward) “Weary.” Dunlop of the Australian Auxiliary Medical Corps , who operated on him and immediately. “Weary.” Dunlop, some time later, became good friends with the good Doctor Michael and was responsible for establishing the Flying Doctor Service in Australia. To this day, Michael is a trustee of the Flying Doctor Service.
Returning to Billy Griffiths, one could not but be immensely impressed with his courage and fortitude. “Weary.” Dunlop had operated on him for a couple of hours. “During which the remove the remains of Griffiths’ eyes and tidied the stumps of his arms, he gave his leg only a 30-70% chance of being saved” After the months of rehabilitation, Billy Griffiths was taught business management by a member of St Dunstan’s with a view to setting up a new haulage contracting business of his own.
Billy learn to type using fittings to his stumps and dial the telephone with his tongue. Compared with Billy, then, what on earth am I anxious about! of grievances
Yesterday, as I said, was the grand Opening Ceremony for the Olympiad 2012 Games, which, did not finished much before 1.00 a.m. so it brings it into today. ‘My lovely’ and I could not stay up until the early hours so we decided to watch it this afternoon, at our leisure. As a result of’ Paul ‘computer’s skill I was able to access it through my laptop and play it on the television.
There seems to be universal acclaim for the outcome, which we are told cost £23 million. I shall not attempt to describe what was going on in one part of the arena or other I should need a prodigious memory or a complete set of notes. As I have neither, this will just be my general impression, 24 hours after the event.
The opening scene showed that the Arena had been turned into a complete corner of rural England with a small orchestra on one edge playing Elgar, all around were scenes that one might expected to have seen at an indeterminate stage in our history. Basically they were rural pursuits. Farmers with flocks of sheep; local people playing cricket; others dancing round the Maypole, and so.
This led us to the Industrial Revolution, when Great Britain’s power was at its zenith, five enormous factory chimneys emerged from the ground. Some 100/150 feet high with smoke billowing out at the top. There’s no way, to my mind, that these iconic symbols of the Industrial Revolution, were what they appeared to be. The hydraulic equipment required underground to raise such a mass, would have been prodigious, so I can only believe that they were made from some sort of paper or canvas, which, at the right moment, collapsed and disappeared. As this was one continuing pageant, events and activities came and went‘ but in all instances there were matters almost uniquely British.
Our poor Queen certainly had to sit through at least a couple of hours before officially opening the games and then, I suspect, she was discreetly whisked away. In presenting this tableau of snippets of what the producers thought were ‘essentially British’, there were inevitably some part of the presentation, which did not appeal to everyone. For example, a session of’ ‘rap’ music. I can think of other forms of music which I believe would have been more appropriate. However, to pick out any individual event in this vast singular tableau could give the wrong impression; it was throbbing, alive and continuous build up to the main event, the lighting of the massive torch (or cauldron). Who was to have unique honour of lighting this torch.? It was a heavily guarded secret that had not leaked out and was therefore a great surprise and delight to the estimated 1 billion viewers around the world. This ‘torch’ turned out to be a huge cauldron, from the resembling, from a South African protea. Six or eight of our young athletes, who carried a torch around the arena, who had been selected by some of the big names in world sport, simultaneously lit a huge copper petal, forming part of the cauldron on a very long is stalk. Once the flame had completed its circle all of the petals swung up from the ground to form another circle of fire around the torch.
The torch seemed to grow in size and thus accompanied by a short but grand firework display, was the climate of the Opening Ceremony.
For some reason the artistic director, for this event, allowed the show to go on with a personal appearance from Sir Paul McCartney – one of the iconic Beatles of the 60s’. I suppose following the ‘the typical British’ approach, for what was more British than the Beatles, at the time? and I think on that point, the whole thing fizzled out and the 80,000 or so people in the Arena, wondered how long it would take them to get home.
My personal overall feeling was one of relief. We had not let ourselves down and yet we had not made the mistake of attempting to match the magnificent opening ceremony
for the last Olympic Games by the Chinese, in Beijing. The artistic director had done what I, and no doubt thousands of others wished on him, keep it simple and keep it British. In that respect, I must say it was 100% success. As to it being the best ever opening ceremony, as one commentator, opined, I have my doubts but then we are all entitled to our opinion and it was clear that the overall majority thought it was a great success. So thank you to the thousands of people participated in this uniquely entertaining event. Now, on with the show.
Over the next two weeks we will be smothered with a surfeit of Olympic events. I can only possibly comment at random on some of the more important or interesting events and, at the end of the day, where we stand in the overall medal table, although I must stress that I do not believe that the number of medals necessarily reflects the true Olympic spirit, which to my mind, and many others, is not merely who wins but how you took part.