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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

In the city again

With Oscar on the Villa Road, Birmingham

I was on the phone to my mother in Scotland.
"The story has speeded up - you'll be seventy in March, Amy's expecting a baby in March, Richard's left home and is living with Emma in town..." and we seem constantly approaching an unprecedented climax of events in the world.
"Yes even for us there's a sense of crisis, Mum. I'll see you in a few days."
For the last few hours the fireworks of Diwali have been detonating across Handsworth increasing in frequency as midnight approaches. Our neighbours who've long looked after Oscar when we're away are both ailing, no longer able to look after him, so there's a small problem. Amy and Guy took over for the last two months, but they'll soon have a babe to look after - a boy whose possible name we were debating the other evening.
To my relief the allotment's not looking too bad despite our absence. I brought some potatoes back for supper  after my first visit. I've paid the rent - just £15 - to which I've added my first annual sub to the Association - £5. Today I started making a veranda for the shed - two cheek pieces of ply now in place.
Tomorrow I'll support these with two uprights, add a plywood roof and cover it with roof-felt. The vine I  gave Lin for her 60th birthday and planted in August can grow up the side and along the front.
** **  **
We've arranged the next meeting of the Central Handsworth Practical Care Project in three weeks - leaving us room to get various jobs done before then. We have various prospects for storing our vehicles and equipment. It looks as if we may not have to wind the project up and start anew as Lin's work on the accounts has so reduced our debts to HMRC and one other creditor.
*** ***
On Tuesday I was at the Wellcome Research Centre inside the old QE Hospital on my university campus as a participant in a project on physical activity and healthy ageing. I gave blood samples, had my bone density measured on a DEXA machine, did some dexterity exercises and - most exciting and fascinating - had an ultrasound scan of my heart.
Clare McNulty, about Amy's age I guess, explained how very high frequency sound waves create images of the structure of the heart and the way it's working - the same procedure used to look at Amy's  baby.
"You can take a picture" she said.
Amy's son

On Thursday morning I go to the University's School of Sport and Exercise Sciences for another set of tests and a psychological assessment. It'll be a rainy cycle ride along the canal to Edgbaston.
*** ***
Nigel, striving for self-sufficiency in County Mayo, has begun building a page on his website - Grow Your Own - that uses some of my stepfather's films.
** ** **
Meantime Linda's without her car. The head gasket's shot. She tried one of those sealant products. I cycled up to Lozells Road to buy it for over £12. Useless.
John, our neighbour "You down wanna do it like that, Lin."

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