30 November 2016

Old young me

These are some of the chemistry researchers at the University of Cambridge Chemical Laboratory in 1978, and right in the middle there is old young me, second row from the back, fourth row from the front, and noticed now because this fuzzy close-up was cropped from a larger image I found high on a stairway wall during the process of returning to the Chemical Laboratory to be interviewed for a profile story about my life's adventure that will appear in the Cambridge Chemistry magazine very soon now - Winter 2016 issue - and with a much clearer photo, I am sure. Forgive this self indulgence, but the memories are making me feel rather odd, and the life has come and gone, mostly, although I have been told that the best may yet be to come. I am not sure if that faith was being expressed for my work as my real self, or as this alter-self that rambles here, or for all and everything in general, but I will keep trying, until I can try no more.

A song for Seanso

As sung boldly but badly out of tune by Don QuiScottie de l'Ecosse (sounding much like a cuckoo in the kookkaburra tree)

The Grim Reaper is The Grim Healer
He cuts your trouble from sight
with one swipe of his clean sharp scythe
And everything that ever mattered
and bothered
and troubled
and tortured you
will be gone...
with one swipe of his clean sharp scythe
And the sweet Healer will come
so do set today’s troubles aside
‘till the job of his healing is done
with one swipe of his clean sharp scythe
with one swipe of his clean sharp scythe.

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29 November 2016

That's that then

Three years younger than me…
slim, healthy, but dead.
Walking around on Monday,
working, discussing what lay ahead.
Now cold on a slab today, Tuesday,
people reciting the last things he said.
"Next week, tomorrow, the meeting…
the deadline, the problem, the strife.
Cheerio then, we’ll discuss that tomorrow…"
hours later, departed this life.

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Fresh frost on old graves

25 November 2016

Good morning cold Perthshire

Disoriented detneirosiD

I have been exploring novel ways to explain stereochemistry.
Imagine I am a molecule...
I think the students remained confused, judging by the, eh... reaction

23 November 2016

Waiting for the lady

Just fifteen minutes, waiting, but savouring the beauty, that can be can be found in dull normality, in time that could have been called wasted, outside the school, waiting for the lady, seeing things with fresh eyes, and thinking of the plans, the paths through future ways, that can make the mundane interesting, turning fifteen minutes waiting, into a time of exploration and reflection, while waiting for the lady, as she ends another busy day, and taking another view, in fifteen minutes of time, to review, renew, refocus, restart, then gently pull away.

21 November 2016

Winter has arrived

Not with snow yet, but with frost and cold hands scraping ice from the car windscreen and an almost bald head wondering where the woolly hat has been left, and with fingers feeling for gloves, and with little birds in the garden mobbing the fat-filled half coconut shell and scuttling across the frosted grass blades for the scattered seeds. And a cat is watching... It will have its share of the feed, indirectly. Thus Nature proceeds.

20 November 2016

The 87 steps

The spinal crisis alluded to in my previous post began here, leaving me literally crippled with pain and barely able to reach the help I needed, but today I almost danced up the 87 Playfair Steps during a four mile hike up and down and round and round the old town, with never even a twinge to remind me of the recent days when I could barely move. It is strange how quickly things can go terribly wrong, and how quickly they can all get better again, and not just with spinal cords and backbones. There again, things can also go terribly wrong and then quickly get much worse. Today though, I was walking towards the light.

19 November 2016

Water under the bridge

To be able to walk effortlessly and completely pain-free beside the river, when many of the preceding days had to be spent unable to walk... unable even to lie without pain, unless staying utterly flat and still... when the battle just to rise up to use the toilet rather than confront the messy indignities of the bedpan involved an agonising struggle assisted by sticks and supports after long thought-out plans for steeling oneself in preparation for the torture that would come... when a mere sneeze felt like a skewer piercing through the spine... To be able, after all that, to walk effortlessly and completely pain-free beside the river again is to be awestruck in wonder at what muscle and nerve can achieve with barely any conscious intervention, when they are all working properly again, and to appreciate how casually we accept the almost miraculous machinations of a functioning body, which we generally expect unthinkingly to be there for us while we stress and obsess about other and so often more trivial things. My spinal cord, imperfectly arranged in its malformed canal, is 61 years old, or 62 from its moment of conception, and with good care and good fortune, it may carry me around and by the river for a few years yet, it seems, and with a more grateful mind perched atop it than the casually expecting beast it has supported until now. I think the nerves and the muscles may have conspired in an act of hot rebellion to inform me that their support should not be taken so lightly. So now, with their help, and with my gratitude, I seem able to move on.

18 November 2016

Rest, recover, restart...

Each day is a life
and each evening I die
it's hard to remember
but I really must try