Monday, 16 December 2019

Unisex toilets

are under discussion in this morning's paper. There are claims that some girls are trying not to use them in schools.
I don't know who thought they would be a good idea. It apparently has something to do with catering for "gender diversification" and the "everyone uses the same toilets at home" argument.
Neither of these arguments work for me. The very small minority of people who identify as gender neutral or a different gender from their original biological gender will normally have the option of using another facility - usually one also used by people with disabilities. Those facilities are usually placed in such a way that they are unisex and gender neutral. They should be provided as a matter of course. (There are more around than there once were but we have a long way to go before I will be satisfied by the provision of such facilities.)
But the other argument that "everyone uses the same toilet at home" is not an argument at all. What happens within a family unit is entirely different from sharing a space for what is a very private act with complete strangers. In many cultures it is simply unacceptable - even forbidden. 
This is not a matter of "catering for a minority". It is imposing something on everyone for the demands of a "politically correct" view that is held by very few. I know people who claim unisex toilets "discourage sexual abuse and violence against women". I would be interested to know if there is any actual research with respect to this. My belief is that the opposite is more likely to be true. Unisex toilets would hardly seem to be the answer among body conscious teenagers with a growing sexual awareness.
Maybe I am wrong but I don't think so. Tell me if I am. 

Sunday, 15 December 2019

An offer to help

is not something I give lightly. Middle Cat is much more "spur of the moment" about such things than I am.
I suppose I have always been rather cautious about such things. I tend to be uncertain about whether I will really be welcome.  If I offer to do something I know, because I will have thought about it, that I can do it. Of course that excludes the same circumstances that would exclude anyone else but, apart from that, I have thought about it. 
I think about things like where an activity is going to be held and how I am going to get there as well as what is required of those  involved. I think about how much time is likely to be involved and much more. 
No, it isn't that I spend a lot of time contemplating these things but they do pass through my small feline brain before I put my paw up.
So some weeks ago I volunteered to help with something. It is just for a few hours this week. I did it because I am not preparing for a big Christmas lunch or dinner. I knew the weather was likely to be hot and the other likely volunteers would be older than I am. 
As it turns out the weather is going to very hot. Middle Cat told me she would take me to the venue...a few minutes in the car but a good twenty-five on the trike. I could also stay a little longer than I had originally planned if it would help the person running the event.
There was an email from the organiser to the  helpers...she is a well organised person and gets things done. I emailed back and offered the extra time if she needed it. 
The response has left me puzzled. It was a "thanks for offering to help...if the others can't get there I will let you know". Does the organiser want me to help or not? I had assumed from the first email that I was needed at least part of the time. Now I am not sure I am needed at all. I emailed back and I am waiting for an answer.
But it has made me think about other volunteers as well. All too often we hear the words, "It's always the same few people who volunteer".  I know that's true. Some people never volunteer and others do so only reluctantly or have to be asked to help. But, if we do want people to volunteer, then it seems to me that it needs to be made very clear they are wanted and what they are expected to do.  They also need to be thanked once the job is done.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

The UK election results

have left me stunned. The Senior Cat has been shaking his head in disbelief.  A former resident of the UK phoned me about something else but added, "Move too far left and you just get overtaken."
It isn't the election result my friends in Upover were looking for. At the same time I can't imagine that any of them would approve of the  "rioting" being reported.
But who is responsible for the result? Is it Johnson or Corbyn or their parties and their policies or is it....the people who didn't vote? Apparently about 32% of eligible voters did not vote. 
Now some of them may not have been able to vote for good reasons. Others though will have been of the "can't be bothered" brigade and the "it won't make any difference" brigade. 
The first group can be forgiven. Things do happen which prevent people from voting. The second and third groups cannot be forgiven. They are what cause democracies to disintegrate. Democracy requires effort. If we want to live in a democratic society then we have to participate.
I am opposed to Downunder's system of "compulsory attendance at the ballot box". I think that is wrong. It is undemocratic. It is also undemocratic to compel voters to mark their preferences. I have always said I have a  duty to vote but I should not  be compelled to vote, wherever I place them, for anyone who supports something I find abhorrent - such as the death penalty. People who don't vote when they could vote put us in danger of allowing such things as the return of the death penalty to happen - and they are often the first to complain when such things do happen.
To "get Brexit done" won't be easy. The legislation will probably go through on the 17th and the UK will "leave" at the end of January next year but there is a lot of mopping up and tidying away and sorting out to be done.  The rest of the EU is not going to make this easy. There are plenty of sour grapes to be swallowed there too. It has been an immense blow to Merkel and Macron in particular. They will want to make the remainder of the process as difficult and as expensive as possible. It will be used as a warning to other countries like Greece and Italy to remain or face financial and trading consequences. 
All this might have been avoided if 30% of the UK population had thought about the likely consequences of not voting. 

Friday, 13 December 2019

The UK General Election

results will affect us here in Downunder as well. 
I think I have said elsewhere in this blog that we have made a major mistake in trying to become "part of the Asian region". Downunder is not an Asian country. It never was and it never will be. 
We aren't European either - although we have now been part of that curious event known as Eurovision. We sit somewhere between the two I suppose - and on the rim of the Pacific Island nations. It isn't comfortable.
Asia does not want us. It is time we accepted that. Asian countries will do business with us. That makes sense. Asian countries will also tolerate us but we are, at best, "neighbours". We are not "family". We are seen as Westerners, even as European. For all our much lauded "multi-cultural" credentials we are not seen as Asian. When we come to terms with that then we might have a more settled place in the world. 
I am aware that this is not a popular view among those who spruik the multi-cultural message. They tell me, "Look at the X festival, the Y festival, and the Z festival. They are all Asian. You're wrong."
No, I am right. For all those things get reported in the media there are still only a minority of Downunderites who attend these things - and even fewer who truly understand what they are about.
Middle Cat married into the Greek-Cypriot community here. It is a community which still has annual events such as the Blessing of the Waters. It will probably be reported in the media. It usually is. My nephews here have never been although they were baptised Greek Orthodox. If I asked them they would struggle to tell me what it was about. They don't go to church. It is an event which, apart from the few genuinely faithful, is more about an excuse to get together among some and for politicians and the media to perpetuate the myth of multi-culturalism. Many other festive events come into the same category. What is being "celebrated" has little, if anything, to do with the actual meaning of the event in the country in which it originated. It is like the Japanese celebrating "Christmas". Very few Japanese are Christians but many of them enjoy Christmas trees, lights, presents and the like. Nobody there would suggest they are Western because of it.
I don't know which way the residents of the United Kingdom will jump. We will find out in a few hours. The European Union, which sparked this election, is of course an entirely different idea from our multi-cultural idea. In nature it is more ASEAN and other trading blocks. It is important and the UK should be part of it. We should have a much stronger association with it than we have.
We might have helped the UK remain in the EU far more than we have if we had taken much more interest in the EU. 


Thursday, 12 December 2019

Christmas Markets

are  now on the agenda.
I am supposed to be helping on a stall at one next week. The forecast temperature is 41'C so I doubt that "knitting" will be of much interest to the hordes which attend. Actually I doubt the hordes will attend. It will simply be too hot. Numbers would not have been high on a Tuesday afternoon anyway and the weather will simply make the numbers even lower.
I feel sorry for the organisers. There will have been a considerable amount of work go into it even though it is only open for four hours. 
It has made me think of the UK election being held in what is today in this part of the world and tomorrow there. There will have been postal votes - and the political director of the BBC would have us believe she already knows what the outcome is likely to be - but the weather may well put people off from voting there too. I wonder what difference it will make?
Do they design polling places around Christmas markets? The idea of being able to buy a nice woolly hat or a pair of mittens in your party's colours might appeal to some people.
I am sure people go to such markets with the idea of finding small things at bargain prices - stocking fillers rather than major presents.
I gave the person in charge of our stall some soap bags - with good soap but otherwise cheap and practical. They might sell.
Apart from that and sending some cards overseas I have done almost nothing about Christmas. At the request of the Senior Cat I have bought book vouchers. Middle Cat is supposed to be getting plants for two gardeners to whom we give gifts. That is all I have done. 
I haven't even made shortbread or lebkuchen for the greengrocer's staff. I think I had better do that much at least. They might not let me have any salad vegetables when it is hot. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Falls in the elderly

are a serious problem. We all know that. So, why do the elderly do stupid, idiotic, ridiculous things?
The Senior Cat is all right - he may have a bruise or two but he is all right. He should not be.
The silly cat came home from hospital yesterday. You would think he would have managed to learn a lesson or two? No.
He was padding down the passage way at about 9:30pm  when he slipped and fell. The reason he slipped? His rear paws were bare. He had been told that, under no circumstances, was he to move around in bare rear paws. 
More seriously, his feet are not in good shape. He has had incredibly flat feet all his life.  When he was small nobody thought about this. When he was a little older the navy (his first choice for service during the way) rejected him on that and eyesight grounds. At the time they were taking almost everyone who applied so he really was unfit. Both problems remain with him. He was hopeless at all forms of sport.
Middle Cat has been monitoring the situation but there have been additional problems in the last few months. So, non-slip safety socks or shoes everywhere
Last night showed him why. There was the dreaded thump and the clatter of his walker against the wall. I pounded out the other door to see what had happened.
    "I'm all right."
I investigated. No, he hadn't broken anything - but how was he going to get up again?
    "I can do it!" he told me.
I knew he couldn't but I let him try. Twenty-two minutes later he admitted defeat. I pressed the emergency button and explained the situation, emphasised "not urgent" and then phoned Middle Cat to let her know.
     "Has he hurt himself?" was her question after a mild swear word, "No, don't let them take him back to hospital. It won't do his confidence any good."
I was well aware of this but I also knew that they would insist. They have to do it. 
 "Well see if you can cancel the call and S.... and I will come over and do it. I can check him out if necessary."
I called the emergency service and told them what was going on.
"Call us back if you need us - and don't hesitate to call us if the situation changes."
Middle Cat and her husband arrived. It took the combined efforts of the three of us.  One of them on each side and me to rush the chair underneath.
Then S....prowled the house and suggested more changes to the way things are laid out. That wouldn't have helped in this instance but it kept him occupied while Middle Cat gently scolded the Senior Cat.
She saw him into bed and told him he was to phone her "even at two in the morning" if necessary.
I had been awake since 4:30am (don't ask) and I was tired. Could I sleep? No. 
I wonder how much longer we can cope if this sort of thing keeps happening. 


Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Staying in hospital

is not fun and it turns out we could have had the Senior Cat home last week.
I did not see the Senior Cat  yesterday. I intended to but Middle Cat had to take her husband to another hospital for some minor surgery.  As always things were running late and she went off to see the Senior Cat without picking me up. 
The reason for this was that she wanted to be there in time to go with him for his appointment with the podiatry specialist. It was this appointment that was his reason for staying in until today.
It didn't happen. 
The ward staff knew nothing about it. They could find no record of it. The podiatry department knew nothing about it. They could find no record of it. Was it in Outpatients? No. They knew nothing about it.
Middle Cat  phoned me to let me know all this. She was, rightly, very annoyed. As she said to me, "I couldn't get angry with the ward staff. It isn't their fault."
I suspect I know where the fault lies. It would be in podiatry where someone was distracted before putting the appointment in - and then simply forgetting.
When I could not get there on Sunday I tried phoning. The ward phone was eventually answered after a long wait. Instead of asking to speak to the Senior Cat I just said,
    "I'm sorry to bother you. Could you just give my father a very short message instead of taking the phone to him?"
The response was, "Of course. I'll let him know straight away."
This meant peace of mind for the Senior Cat and less work for the person on shift. Of course there are people who take their mobile phones into hospital with them but the Senior Cat, while he can use his, is not confident about it and was worried he might lose it.  
But I do wish that, within the hospital, there were better lines of communication. The Senior Cat's appointment was not life threatening but it was important. Now it will mean Middle Cat has to get him to and from the hospital. If she can't do it then I will have to get an Access Cab both ways and, given their unreliability, it could be an all day affair. Seeing him while he was in hospital was simply a matter of getting him to and from the relevant department.
This is the sort of thing that happens all the time of course. Nobody seems to take the lack of good communication lines very seriously. They should. It could save a great deal of time and trouble.
It could also save lives.

Monday, 9 December 2019


and chalk, dip pens, ink monitors, Friday tests, tonic solfa, box pleated tunics...
    "What was school like when you were little?" 
I was "interviewed" by a child yesterday. Apparently I am now old enough to be classed as "old" for the purposes of a school project. 
    "Find an adult older than your parents..."
Then the idea was to ask them some questions about what it was like when they went to school.
    S.... understood blackboards and chalk simply because they had these things to play with earlier.
    "But you can just rub it off. How did the teacher keep things?"
The idea of having to keep piles of paper in a filing system was too much for S.... 
Dip pens? This completely bewildered S.... "But why didn't you just use a biro?"
Trying to explain that, although these writing tools were around when I was a kitten, they were not actually in widespread use was almost too much for him. I told him that it was not legal to sign a cheque with a biro. He does know what a cheque is because his father is an accountant and still sees cheques in his work. I suppose that is something.
We went on from that. I explained about daily "mental", spelling lists, handwriting lessons, our "reader" (the one book used by the entire class for the year) and more.
Music lessons with "tonic solfa" and art lessons with "geometric drawing" were met with more disbelief.
As for the weekly tests we had on Friday? He thought that was a "really, really bad" thing to have. His school doesn't test apart from NAPLAN requirements.
Discipline? The idea that we got punished for talking in class was something he didn't really believe. That we all sat facing the blackboard was "weird".
His grandmother had been hunting around among some photograph albums while I was answering his questions.
    "And I can show you what Cat and I had to wear and what your mother did too."
There she was in her box pleated tunic, three pleats at the back and three pleats at the front, her long sleeved white blouse, her school tie, her hat, her gloves, her stockings, her clunky shoes and her school blazer with the prefect's badge.
   "That looks awful...Mum never did wear that!"
   "Yes, she did. Here."
The photographs are almost identical.
   "Can I take it to school?"
   "May I'll make a copy - well actually you can go and make a copy now. Do both of them and you can put them with your work sheet."
S...went off. In a modern household there is the capacity to do such things instantaneously.
When he came back with the copies he said,
    "I didn't think Mum was that old and you aren't really old either. Did you have a  computer at school?"
His grandfather had just arrived home. His grandmother and I left him to explain about computers.
It is nice to know I am not "really old".

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Christmas letters

- did I hear a groan?
I haven't finished writing mine yet - and I should have had them posted on Friday.
I normally do better than this because there are friends who look forward to the annual letter from Downunder - even if there is no news of particular consequence from the Cat Clan Outpost. It is not kind of me to make the humans in Upover and elsewhere wait.
But it has just taken me nearly two hours to do enough watering to (I sincerely hope) keep the garden at least alive on a day which is forecast to be 36'C. Part of that time was blogging time and part of it was letter writing time. 
I know people like Christmas letters. It is, I suppose, easy enough to write on a card, put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it, put it in the letter box - and then leave the rest of it up to the mysteries of the postal service. (As a mere cat I do not understand how the postal service work. All I know is that it is inconsistent.) 
Writing a Christmas letter is another thing altogether. The Senior Cat's friend G...produces four pages - complete with photographs. 
I might manage a page - but no photographs. I have no way of taking a photograph. The camera we once had refuses to take a picture any more.  I am not technically minded. I will write a couple of pages and leave it at that.
It also means that I cannot take a photograph of "the hat". I put "the hat" in the "100gms or less" challenge for the knitting guild's Christmas party yesterday. I thought I should put something in but, on seeing what was there, I did not expect to win a prize. There were some "Christmas puddings"and a green sparkly tree, a baby cardigan, a couple of crochet animals (I liked the cat!), and a proper Fair Isle beret among other things. I gave my two voting beads to someone else so I wouldn't be tempted to give myself one lonely bead for at least one thing. (I put in a very hippy belt with flowers as well.) "The hat" won a prize. I will endeavour to get a photograph at some point. I can still improve on the technique of stiffening it. (I did it with a mixture of PVA glue and water but I had to brush it on. It needs to be sprayed on.) Now that the event is over I might also risk spraying "the hat" with clear acrylic to make it a little stiffer and waterproof - or perhaps perspiration proof as is is a summer hat. I needs thought.
The Christmas letter needs thought too...I had better finish it.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Exam results

are due out for final year students in this state on 17 December.
One of the students in question is already in a fine state of nerves about her possible results. I suspect that the greater than usual "grouchiness" of one of the boys is for the same reason - not that he will admit it.
These are a couple of the teens I have read essays for through the year. They are a couple of the teens with very demanding parents.
   "I tried telling my Dad that not everyone can come top and even if you do come top sometimes it won't be all the time. He won't listen."
Knowing the father in question I don't doubt this. There is a permanent monument to his stupidity in a major piece of civil engineering. It needs repairing but he won't even acknowledge there is a problem with it. I am no engineer but even I could see there was a problem.  
His son has no desire to follow in his father's footsteps.
    "Just imagine Cat...having everyone ask you if you are D...'s son for the rest of your life."
I can imagine. It happens to me even now. Visiting the Senior Cat in hospital is a hazard. Middle Cat has been teaching the young physiotherapy student who was there on placement. The staff member responsible for his supervision was only too happy to have her help.
Of course Middle Cat mentioned my work and, on my way out yesterday, I was stopped and asked if I could get anything out of a patient who wasn't responding. I don't like doing that sort of thing if I know nothing about the circumstances but I tried any way because "he just stares into space like he isn't there at all". 
I tried. Deaf? Yes. Hearing aids? No. Sign? Yes. He was also very elderly and, from his surname, I guessed he came from a background where English was not his first language - if he spoke any at all - and where nodding your head means "no" and not "yes". I explained this to the staff member who had stopped me. She was amazed.
    "I'll email a simple communication board through. He might not be able to read or write. It can help you when there is no family around."
    "That's what we need but can you ask him about his pain level?" I tried some likely gestures. He frowned slightly and then held up seven fingers so I think he understood.
What I understood was, as I was about to leave, he reached out and grabbed my hand for a moment and smiled.
The boy who doesn't want to be a civil engineer wants to be a doctor. I told him about this last night. 
    "Yeah, if I do well enough then I can maybe do something to help people like that."
That would be good. He can work with the worried girl who wants to do Speech Pathology. 
I hope they do well enough because they would both be good at what they want to do.

Friday, 6 December 2019

The bus service to the hospital

is not something I am familiar with as I do not use buses. It is years since I travelled on a bus. I cannot take my tricycle on a bus.
But Middle Cat is in the neighbouring capital city and the Senior Cat needed things. I could have asked a number of people. All of them would have willingly dropped what they were doing and ferried me up the hill to the hospital. 
I could also get myself there if I could work out how to do it.
I thought about this. I looked at the local transit site on the internet. I considered the hazards of crossing roads but the bus terminal is directly outside the hospital. There is no need to cross a busy road up there. The cars at the drop off and pick up point have to watch for patients and others with varying degrees of mobility. I am not the snail in this situation.
And this end I could pedal my trike to a bus stop and lock it to the shelter.
All that remained was to get across the road - once. I could do that couldn't I? It is not that busy a road. On the way home I would be on the side where my tricycle was parked. I would pedal across the road.
I parked and locked and was about to cross the road when a very elderly man alighted from the bus going in the other direction. He stood nervously on the edge of the footpath peering anxiously in both directions. Two cars went past. He was about to step out when a car came in the other direction. 
I decided that a driver was more likely to see two of us together and slow down because of it.
    "I'm going over to the other bus stop," I told him.
    "Thank you," he said, "I've come too far. I need to go back to stop nineteen. I told the driver but he forgot."
I had timed my arrival so as not to wait too long and the bus was only a couple of minutes late. 
We boarded and the very elderly man explained what had happened.
    "You sit there mate," the driver told him, "And out the front door when we get there."
We arrived at stop nineteen. The driver stopped. As the elderly man was getting out and nearly lost his balance the driver got out too.
    "Do you need to cross the road?" he asked
    "Yes, I can..."
    "Mate, I'm going to see you across the road."
Perhaps it took a minute and the driver made up some lost time before being held up by the road works near the hospital.
There were two other passengers on the bus besides myself. At our destination the other two left, as required, by the central door. The driver looked at me though and said,
     "Out the front door love. Don't want any accidents...and the old chap told me you had seen him across the road."
Little did he know how grateful I was that the old man needed some help!
I managed to sneak out the front door on the way back too.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Elton John was performing

in the city last night.
No, I didn't go. It was way beyond my financial means. Also, it was outside and most people were expected to stand.
Middle Cat and her husband went - the tickets were a gift. I haven't yet heard what they thought of it but they were told they could take two light folding chairs - needed because Middle Cat has a disability parking permit - for the days when her back is really worrying her - and S...(her husband) had a surgical procedure just over a week ago. They both wanted to go - more out of curiosity than anything else. 
It made me realise that this sort of concert going is not common in our family. My two nephews who lived here while growing up had their own quite successful pop-duo. They often got gigs around town and they did some recordings too. But they weren't concert goers. Even if the money had been there they would not have been interested. I know they went to a couple of concerts of people they were particularly interested in but they weren't the noisy, lights flashing, drug fuelled rock concerts that get the headlines.
I have never been to that sort of concert. I have no desire to go. My concert going when a student was confined to the cheapest seats. My fellow students were the same. Someone would see there was something on that might interest the rest of us. A head count would be done and we would take it in turns to queue to try and get cheap seats for all of us. It was a system which worked pretty well.  I saw Gielgud in a brilliant performance of Murder in the Cathedral that way - something I am never likely to forget. It was a far cry from a rock concert.  To me rock music is mostly just a noise I don't understand. Rock artists seem to make headlines for all the wrong reasons. 
Elton John did make the headlines. There was a list of  "do and do not do" for his concert in the paper yesterday. This morning there was a glowing review of his performance and the way the crowd behaved. I suspect the crowd was a little older than the teens who flock to rock concerts.   

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

"Refugees" who are not refugees

pose a genuine problem for many countries around the world.
There is currently some legislation before our national parliament concerning what have been called "Medevac" laws - laws which allow the transfer of those seeking asylum but whose cases have not yet been settled or have been found not to be refugees to come here for medical treatment.
The government put the laws in place for good reasons. People who have not had their claim for refugee status approved have arrived and refused to leave after medical treatment. Others have backed them. Still others have deliberately self-harmed in order to be transferred here. Others have backed them too. 
There is a very powerful "refugee lobby" here. The problem is that it often does more to harm than it does to help.
Someone asked in this morning's paper why the government doesn't simply take up the offer of our Kiwi neighbours to take the people who are seeking asylum but who remain on islands to the north of us. It sounds like a simple solution doesn't it?
It isn't. There are all sorts of problems involved. 
International law is very complex. Granting someone refugee status is a long process. Granting someone "asylum" can be even more complex.  It isn't a simple matter of someone arriving and saying, "I'm a refugee" or someone else saying, "I'm being persecuted. I need asylum."
It is a natural tendency to think of anyone who claims these things as being honest, truthful, sincere and desperate. The reality unfortunately is quite different. Many people who genuinely have nowhere safe to go are stuck in appalling conditions in refugee camps. They have no means of leaving and no way of putting forward their cases to be granted refugee status. It is highly likely that thousands of such people will die in refugee camps - die from inadequate food, shelter and clothing. Children will die from disease or, if they don't, they will not have an education. 
Those seeking asylum - and this is not quite the same thing as being a refugee with nowhere to go - are all too often those who have broken the law in their own country. If they face the death penalty they cannot be sent back. They may also face what seem to us to be unduly harsh and unfair punishments and they will be trying to avoid those. The legal systems in their countries may be very different from ours. But what if these people have broken the law? What if someone has murdered or raped or caused other harm? Do we simply allow them in to escape justice?
All this needs to be considered. People will lie to get what they want - and what they even believe they deserve. We don't want to believe that but we do need to consider it.
It may be that the government will one day take up the offer of our Kiwi neighbours - if it can be done without encouraging others to make dangerous journeys - but the idea that you can simply say "Yes" and send people there is not without great dangers.
We need to be realistic about what can and should be done even while our natural sympathies might lie with saying "let them come".

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Old people in hospital

have been very much on my mind of late. 
The Senior Cat is still in hospital. Yesterday we thought he would be coming home first tomorrow and then today. Now they say he will be there another week.
I can see what is happening. I think Middle Cat can too, as can our brother. 
The problem this time is that the Senior Cat has been wearing those non-slip safety socks - the sort with the little bits of rubber that are supposed to decrease the risk of falls. He has not been wearing shoes even though he has been spending most of his time out of bed.
He should have been wearing shoes. Middle Cat told them this. As a physiotherapist she is well aware of the condition of his feet. His circulation is not great these days and that adds to the other problems of "some of the flattest feet in the universe". Now he has another problem on one foot and, on seeing it, the podiatrist and Middle Cat had a discussion and then they had a discussion with the OT. Then they said, "Another week..."
I have not spoken to the Senior Cat since then. Yesterday I saw him before all this occurred. He will be frustrated in the extreme. He says he feels a "fraud" because he isn't really ill.
The staff have, variously, told me, "We like having him here."
I can understand that. He is "one of the few people we can have a conversation with". 
In order to enter the Senior Cat's ward you need to be "buzzed" in and out by staff who have access to the electronic lock on their lanyards.  Some patients would otherwise go wandering. They would quickly end up lost and confused - if they are not already lost and confused. 
The Senior Cat is by far the most mentally alert person there. Provided he can understand one of the many accents among the staff he can actually have a conversation with them. Many of the others remind me of the people in the dementia unit I visited for several years. The person I visited there did not have dementia but she was unable to communicate except via her communication board. The only other person in the area without dementia used to sit with her and they would hold slow conversations. The staff did not have time to help. 
At the hospital the staff do seem to have some time, at least a little. This is probably because, in that area, the patients don't need nursing care. They do need other things - like appropriate stimulation. Some of that might help the man opposite. He seems normal on casual acquaintance but he wanders around restlessly unless he is watching television. He won't eat the hospital food and relies on a friend who brings in food from a fast food chain each day. He has been there for seventeen weeks now and the staff don't know what will happen to him.
We know what will happen to the Senior Cat if certain other things happen. We don't want him in a nursing home. He would go. He isn't that stupid or that selfish. But, he would hate it and we would too. We would rather he was home.
And that is what we are all working towards.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Tourism numbers are down

in this state - or so they claim. I suppose they must know. I believe they go on the occupancy rate of the available beds or some such thing.
There always seem to be some lost souls wandering dazedly around. It would help if there were a lot more signs saying, "Middle of town" and "Go this way to get to the edge of town" or "The end of town is this way". Well, not quite but you know the sort of thing I mean. It is far too often that people stop me and ask things like where the nearest railway station is. 
And that is just part of the problem. We have to get people to come here in the first place. 
Oh yes, the cricket has been on "at the oval". Locals all know what that means. There is a street race for "motor heads" - something that causes the locals to believe they can do the same sort of thing outside the circuit. There is a bicycle race for people who think there is some fun to be had pedalling up hills in the heat. We have a "Festival of Arts" and "The Fringe" and they do attract people but they aren't cheap.
And of course there is food and wine. Those things aren't cheap either but they are often excellent.
But we also have some other attractions which don't get the attention they deserve. There are some which are readily accessible - like the Maritime Museum - but many others need a car to get there, things like a wild life park and all the many small towns brimming over with history.  They need public transport to get there and information about them to be readily available. 
Having the youngest kittens here last week also reminded me of how little there is for children to do, especially if it is too wet to be outdoors. You really need to be very local to know about some activities and, even if you do, then it is likely they are there just for a day.
We need to diversify. We need to get away from sport - because, surprising though it may seem, not everyone is interested in sport. We need to stop relying on food and wine too. It isn't possible to spend all day every day of a holiday eating and drinking. 
Some shorter walking trails might help the more energetic. More public transport to places would certainly help. 
And better signage would help. It would tell people where they are and, even better, where they are going. 

Sunday, 1 December 2019

The first woman to

be a policewoman in this state was also the first female police constable in the world to be granted the same powers as a male constable. 
It cannot have been easy for her. She was not given any instruction  but had to educate herself by reading the law books.
Perhaps it was that and her experiences which led her to try and help children in trouble, particularly girls. She had homeless girls living in her own home. Later there was a home for unmarried mothers and their babies at a time when unmarried mothers were, more often than not, completely ostracised. 
The home was still there when I was in my teens and through teacher training college. I had to visit it on more than one occasion because, almost inevitably, many of the girls had low literacy and numeracy skills. 
I met one of the former residents recently. I didn't recognise her but she recognised me. 
   "You didn't really have anything to do with me. I always like to read."
When she reminded me I remembered the very quiet girl who had  been raped by a stranger on her way home from school. Everything about that situation should have turned this woman into a psychiatric basket case. Her intensely cult-like religious family turned her out. Her baby died the day he was born. Other things happened to her that should not happen to anyone. She hasn't married but I saw her recently.
    "I wanted to be a nurse but I didn't have the stamina. I love history though so I managed to get a bonded scholarship to teach. I was in college the year after you left. I spent a couple of years in the state system but then I was offered a job in PNG. I was there for three years and then came back and went into the private system - ended up last year. Since then I have been doing some genealogical research."
That surprised me. I wondered if she was in contact with her family again. It isn't the sort of question you can ask but she answered it without that,
     "I wanted to find out more about the woman who founded the place," she told me, meaning the home she had been sent to on getting raped.
She told me a little, including the woman's place of birth. When she told me the place and the date a little piece of my mother's likely family history fell into place. Her father lost his father when he was very young. On the day of his death the family was helped by a young police woman - we know this from the only letter to have survived. It mentions that the policewoman knew the family as she had come from the same small town.
I told her this and she smiled,
    "That sounds just like her."
It isn't something we can prove but it is almost certain and it is a tiny link to a woman who did so much for women in need. I wonder what my maternal great-grandmother made of her?