Sunday, 16 May 2010

Thoughts from my desk

Pink blossom
They say that the human brain has an infinite capacity. A recent podcast from 'This American Life' featured an unfortunate man who was unable to forget anything, and his life was not pleasant. Despite this, I have to report that my brain is full, and there is still more that needs to go in. Lola told me a fact the other day, just an ordinary fact, not about my course or food or nutrition or anything, and I felt something in my head go pop. Some other facts had fallen out of my ears to make space. Mr A is coping well and managing our sustenance (although the house has degenerated into filth again), but when he came to ask me what time I would like supper, I had to ask him for some options.

Close up of pink blossomI have been pondering on the nature of time, at odd moments when I haven't been stuffing information into my poor memory. Inexorably, the exams are becoming closer, until they arrive, and then are gone. I dream of a science fiction existence where I can revise and do the exams but in some unconscious state, so that I go to sleep now, say, and wake up after the last exam with that delicious feeling of relief and freedom. And without the torment of day after day at my desk, while other people do whatever they choose in the sunshine. Or in the rain, that would be fine too.

Lawns and paths under boughI did actually forget about revision for one brief period this week - Mr A and I went to see Alabama 3 again at our local, award-winning music venue. I was very uncertain about whether I should go at all, in case of after-effects, but it didn't really go on very late at all, and we had a bit of a dance about and then home to bed. Smurf had even arranged very kindly to put us on the guest list, so it didn't cost very much, and, as ever, we saw people we knew there. I really like living here.

The pub next door is doing OK, but it isn't the place it was with Smurf in charge. There are still plenty of customers, but the atmosphere isn't quite as buzzy, and we suspect that takings are down. The owner had a word with us last time we were in, to say that he was thinking of trying to boost custom for the football World Cup by putting a screen outside in the beer garden. We are not keen, but I suspect he will go ahead anyway. Having bought a house next to a pub we are generally fairly flexible about noise, but we'll probably have a word with some other neighbours, and I've asked our local councillor if there are any relevant regulations.

Petals on grass below bough of pink blossomThere was another small diversion this week, when I went to give blood. It's an easy and worthwhile thing to do, even though obviously not a huge treat. There were two pleasant things though - firstly I treated myself to a Penguin biscuit after donating, which is the only chocolate I've had for about a month, and secondly a group of three young students were in, two of whom were teasing the third about his reticence and generally uncomfortable demeanour. He gave them a great deal of material for future anecdotes when he felt faint and was made to lie down with his legs raised.

I've been donating blood since I was a teenager, and much has changed - timed appointments, a drink before as well as after donating, machines that monitor the rate of flow and beep when the bag is full, timers to make you sit for a bit before they let you off the bed. But there still are some stupid procedures - for instance, every time I donate I have to say that I twice lived outside the UK for more than six months, and they have to look it up to make sure it's all right. If it was all right the last time, then surely it is all right this time? Those two periods of six months were more than 20 years ago.

The other stupidity is the blanket ban on donating blood if you are a man who has ever had sex with another man, even just once, even if you used a condom. Incidence of HIV in heterosexuals is higher than other groups, and has been for the last decade. It appears that this policy is under review, and the committee's findings will be published this year.

Building behind tree covered in pink blossom

1 comment:

Snowdrop said...

Haven't had chance to keep up with your blog, have been away.

But your photos of the blossom are beautiful. My little tree is always a little later in bloom, and had come out just before we went. Fortunately with the nice weather its still in bloom now.