Monday 19 July 2010

Could this be a sitcom – or a break out sitcom? Ever had a one word - at a time - conversation ? Fish and Chips – how do you spell it?

We had one of our old days on Friday, even though my mother cannot hear, she felt like talking and having a conversation .... but how do you do this with someone who cannot read nor hear?

How will the interpretation work ... with waving of hands, pointing of fingers, a small whiteboard with one word on it and a duster to wipe it off .. and no ability to actually put a sentence together that is ‘translateable’ for my mother?

Hardwick .. my mother's favourite travelling companion and comforter

It was excellent and we were both laughing away – but it was completely incongruous and I was laughing at the absurdity of it ... while my mother was happily laughing along - wonderful to see and share these now too brief moments.

In the days when she could hear ... these were the types of conversation we used to have .. and perhaps you can now see why my posts are so eclectic, but also include short and sharp cross links – that will lead out .... where?? We find out as we go .....

Arnold Lakhovsky painted The Conversation

My mother’s words in italics .. for some ease of differentiation .. My resources for this ‘conversation’: one whiteboard, cloth to wipe off each word and two personae: me and ‘her’!

Waving arms, pointing fingers, shaking and nodding heads, and ‘herself’ wanting to converse, which she did .. but how to reply, how to explain, how to inform ... well that’s another matter.

My mother wanted to know why she couldn’t hear – reasonable .. but with the next question ... "I’m paying enough they should be able to fix it!" (Actually the National Health Service is paying .. but that’s an explanation too far) – not so easy to answer.

So what now? I’m tired (I know, before I start!) .. so I yawn – without putting my hand in front of my mouth – immediately my mother says “I don’t want to see your tonsils” .... then “do you know what tonsils do?” I thought I’d say ‘no’ .. shaking my head to indicate that!

Well go over there to that table and look in that big book – Chambers- and it will tell you – they are your first line of defence" ... this is my mother! What I thought was interesting – was that she could not and did not recognise the word ‘Google’ ... now last year she would have done. Nor did the word ‘internet’ ring any bells for her. So she has regressed a little.

Then – "did you put the posters up? – they’re wonderful .. thank you darling .. and look at those above the curtains .. with the little dogs on! Thank you." I had put these up about three months ago – but I was not going that route!

So now we’re into "Why can’t I hear?" Remember I cannot converse, nor can I write a sentence ... so I put the words “cold, sore throat, bad chest” .. on three separate lines ... the word my mother picks up is cold – "I’m not cold". But obviously cannot relate that word to the question she asked – it would be fine if I could explain ... she’s always been grateful for my explanations .. but I can’t.

There’s more .... but enough is enough .. I’d bought soft toilet paper instead of tissues, as the staff are quite profligate with them, and I thought loo paper (as we call it here in the UK) would be fine for mopping up her mouth and nose etc. .. but my mother "I don’t want loo paper – that’s not for blowing my nose" ... you know there are no flies on her: even now.

You get the idea ... when we could chatter together it was quite enlightening and we’d have lots of laughs ... belly laughs .. as we did on Friday – and I’d be sent home to Google or Wiki for more information and bring it in for my next visit.

I hold Hardwick up for her to see .. and she immediately says "Hallo Boy ... you’ve been a good companion for me ... and you do have such an intelligent face and look": thank goodness for Hardwick is all I can say – he’s been inseparable from her .. we even had him in hospital – but I was terrified he’d be swept up into the laundry .. so I took him down for visits!

When we were London in the Acute Brain Injury Unit right at the beginning, three years ago now .. a Cameroonian lady had been brought in .. and had a radio with her tuned in to Gospel Music .. and I thought oh oh .. this is not going to please my Ma and asked them if they could keep the sound low .. misery me!

Well, I was truly put in my place on my next visit .. Jasmine said to me (yes Jannie a Jasmine here too!) – do you know what your mother said after you’d gone to get the train ... please turn the music back on!! My reaction to this ... was .. would the patients lift their sheets and bop around the ward in various states of hobble .. and have huge guffaws of laughter as they went ... I just thought what a wonderful scene could be built from this concept. What do you think?

Language and our understanding of it .. my mother thinking I was asking if she was cold .. because the fans were on (usually we have them on – my mother had said earlier she’d rather be cold than hot) .. but my one word on the whiteboard .. ‘cold’ was to imply she had a cold and it had affected her ears ... ears, nose and throat. Well that was a thought too far too.

Harry Bingham's Website – The Writer’s Workshop .. the Word Cloud where writers meet ..

I’ve started reading Harry Bingham’s “This Little Britain – How One Small Country built the Modern World” .. and he starts his little book off with “Shaw’s Potato” .. George Bernard Shaw, the playwright, and ‘would-be spelling reformer’ pointed out that by using only common English spellings, we could write the word fish as ghoti:

F gh as in rough
I o as in women
SH ti as in nation

However Bingham goes on to say .. that if we eat fish, we eat chips too and potato could be ...
ready for it? ghoughbteighpteau ...... as in:

P gh as in hiccough
O ough as in though
T bt as in debt
A eigh as in neighbour
T pt as in pterodactyl
O eau as in bureau

Now .. firstly do you pronounce the words as we do .. because if not obviously this would floor you ... or flaw you? ... but secondly wouldn’t you want to continue reading? Binhgam goes on to say ... “Other languages have their eccentric spellings, of course, but English is in a league of its own. French, German, Spanish, Italian and Russian all spell more or less as they sound .... do they? – I’d be lost I think: however English of course is supernumerary?!

So going back to my mother and ‘cold’ ... in this case it’s her understanding of the word ... rather than the written ... is it ewe or you? course or coarse? .. which do we mean: gosh am I glad I’m English! It makes for fascinating reading this little book and these occur on only pages 1 and 2?!

Potato: Antoine Parmentier holding New World plants, artist: Francois Dumont 1812

And I haven’t really finished with Jasmine ... we have Jannie’s Blue Bunny, who has a Jasmine squirrel, we had our Cameroonian Jasmine, we have the flowers Jasmine – yellow or white, we have the granddaughter, Jasmine, of a friend of my mother’s and for some extraordinary reason .. we have Jasmine, a squirrel, here ...

.... Jasmine, our squirrel, made an uninvited guest appearance the other weekend .. wandering into the Home and visiting every room, hopping onto their beds, saying ‘hello’ to every patient .. and then wondering where next .. with a little help outside please! She kept us amused and occupied for the afternoon ...

When these funnies happen .. and with the extraordinary escapades and stories that have occurred in these last three + years .. I keep thinking there must be sitcom here .. with all these fantastic interweaving story lines .. well I think so – but my imagination does wander somewhat.

Diana Trent and Tom Ballard, two elderly residents of the Bayview Retirement Home are determined not to grow old gracefully. The pair of geriatric delinquents spend their time finding new ways to make life difficult for Bayview manager Harvey Baines.

Waiting for God .. number 37 Graham Crowden and Stephanie Cole play Tom and Diana

Time for tea ... Ghoti and ghoughbteighpteau .....anyone? Then we could sit and watch that tv sitcom ....

Thanks for being here Mr Postman .. and you’re right we did have another quick visit to the hospital on Saturday (when my mother remembered the loo paper – so her short term memory is there! .. amazing isn’t it?) .. and all is well now – we’re safe and back at the Care Centre.

Fish riders in a 1920s poster of the Republic of China

Four years ago .. a cancer sufferer, Maxine, wrote a song in conjunction with Billy Bragg, when he was conducting workshops at the Hospice, for her daughter Jessica .. called ..and "We laughed" .. and it always brings tears to my eyes, but is so appropriate for Mum and I .. - we've always laughed and it's so good to remember all those times: if you would like to hear more and see more .. please visit here: This is the first performance ever after Maxine had died .. with a little bit of commentary by Billy on how the song came about... This is with Maxine and Jess talking about the future and how the song came about ....

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


J.D. Meier said...

I didn't actually know what tonsils do so I had to look it up. Here's what I found in Wikipedia ...

"the defense mechanism of first line against ingested or inhaled foreign pathogens"

I guess mine aren't a spare part after all ;)

... Paige said...

Miscommunication can be worse than no communication

just always be sure to keep the hugs and smiles they do convey love without regard to anything else

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi JD .. glad you confirmed what my mother said .. otherwise I'm not sure what I'd do?!

No .. they're not a spare part .. but mine came out years ago .. so not sure what my Mama saw - something she didn't obviously like!

Well - glad I've 'educated' again .. good to see you and that if my Ma can hear .. I'll tell her, that you had to check her out .. she loves hearing from commenters overseas! Great to see you - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Paige .. fortunately my mother seems to be of a positive nature .. and we've had 3 years together to know what's what .. she's said she couldn't have coped without me - so I seem to be giving her as much comfort as I can and of the sort she wants/needs.

I absolutely agree that miscommunication could be a disaster waiting to happen .. I'm just very lucky .. we have that trust and love.

Laughter and smiles have always been our forte ... thanks Paige for your thoughts and concern .. all the best and I appreciate your being here - Hilary

Julie said...

Hilary, it sounds like you and your mother have such a loving and friendly relationship. I enjoyed your mom's suggestion to use a reference book; it gave me a warm-and-fuzzy in this day of electronics. My regards to Jasmine Squirrel, the Nature Ambassadress. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hilary, I laughed out loud and I even blubbed a little bit (but not enough to cancel out my manliness). This is my favourite post by you so far! :)

I agree that language is very important to the way we can communicate feelings and ideas. Perhaps next time, if all else fails, a simple hug will catch your beloved mum off guard! That's what I do with mine! Works every time! ;)

I found Billy's and Maxine's collaboration to be a deeply moving one. I have loved Billy Bragg for years (thanks to my sister for introducing his music to me), but was totally unaware of this. Thank you for filling a gap in my appreciation of his art, and for filling my ticker with some glorious feelings for the specialness of love and family!

Now, would you please excuse me as I go and tear up a little more...

Blue Bunny said...

o my deerist hillreee -- i runned outsied to get jasmeen to reed this post. and is we both laffing and laffing and so happee to be menshinned by yoo on the internets.

thanks yoo! we iz laffing and dansing and eeting nutts and razzzilberries.

we feels lieks sutch stars.

with loves,
blue bunny

Jannie Funster said...

Hey Hilary -- I'd like that book very much,I think. Sounds fun.

Yep she was smart about the tonsils. Mine are gone. I lost them in the war. The war of throat attrition. :)

So no gospel music for Mama usually? Is she a jazz standards fan? Something tells me some Cole Porter would make her day. Day & Night, I've Got You Under My Skin, I Love Paris, et al.

Lots of laughs, and things to think about. And times to cherish.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Julie .. thank you – we do .. we have settled into that trust zone, for someone who’s bedridden .. so it is wonderful to know that I do this for her. Mum is full of suggestions .. she is always telling me to do things! But that’s great .. her brain is functioning away happily in the background – she loves information.

Thank you – I hope Jasmine is outside with her own kind now .. we haven’t seen her recently! But she certainly had a good look around .. a youngster I think! You’re right – the Nature Ambassadress!! Good name ...

Lovely to see you – have a good week .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tony ... Thank you .. we have always laughed a lot and it’s the saving grace for the situation .. and to know that this is your favourite post – my mother would be very chuffed to hear! I hope her hearing comes back – then I’ll tell her.

I agree that a fun hug is great – and I do that .. but bending over a bed is tricky, often having to wake her up .. and back ache making! Mum loves holding my face in her hand .. she can’t move much now .. but that touch means a lot, and I hold her head in my hand sometimes too.

Great – that you know Billy Bragg and Maxine’s collaboration .. it really moved me at the time .. and the words and the music often come to mind .. “We Laughed” .. and if you hadn’t come across this aspect – I’m delighted to fill in those gaps. You’re so right .. Maxine’s love for her daughter shone through.

I don’t do many posts on my Ma .. but it just felt right to do another at the moment, especially with our one word conversations .. I too quite often get emotional .. but try and keep it in check ... and also when I read others’ blogs ..

I really appreciate your thoughts .. thank you and I know my Ma would be very honoured too .. all the best - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hello – o – o BB .. dids U finds jasmeen .. and you laffed too – that is such funs to noes. Ze internets is quite amazeeing .. U R oftens in my thoughts .. & my Mama wood love to share this correspondence wiv U bofe. Hardwick too ...

Eeting nuts and razzilberries .. aren’t they delishus .. my Ma used to grow lots of razzilberries ... she wuz a good gardener .. dancing together .. now another breakout sitcom ... stars – U R all stars in our neck of the woods ...

With loves to U and Jasmeen .. xoxox

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jannie .. I think it’s a dictionary .. but obviously in Mum’s thoughts it’s become an encyclopedia .. but the thought was foremost in her mind .. and she repeated it during the day!

Still Chambers dictionary does fit in with the language reference .. I tied it into ..

Me too .. eventually had mine out in my 20s .. twice! I still get throat attrition sometimes – but I like your description.

On yes .. she did get her gospel music! We’re not desperately musical .. but you can take me on as a pupil – please, pretty please?! She’s never had music or the radio on since she’s been in hospital .. we enjoy communing with nature, or our own thoughts .. and my Ma’s thoughts are everywhere – which is fantastic to hear .. the staff think it’s fun and so do I .. love the stories from her mind.

Yes – exactly as you say .. lots of laughs and memories .. and so important that cherishing .. thanks so much .. hugs to all .. xoxoxo Hilary

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Ahh the mother/daughter relationship. These have been most rewarding for me. I adore my mother. She is an angel on earth. My daughter has become my best friend. She puts up with me. :) Now, I would like to add a third element to this equation, my granddaughter who at the age of 6 has to be pried from me. She may not always be a close relationship so I cherish these times.

Wonderful post!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Teresa .. good to see you - and hope you feel a little better? Thank you for calling in .. yes Mum and I now have that special relationship .. which we had lost .. though we had some wonderful times - she used to visit me in southern Africa and we've done a few other trips together .. she loved travelling and seeing the world.

You always talk so warmly of your daughter .. and it's great to hear your granddaughter has become ensnared - that's wonderful .. those special times together .. I've loved spending time with my god-daughters and long ago looking after my godson .. who is now a mere 40!! Such caring lovely memories .. & I'm sure she'll cherish you, as you her, as her years go on -

Children and families are so lovely and those blessings are so, so worth while.

I really appreciate your visit .. and your loving comments re your family and ours here .. thank you - have a good week .. and keep looking after yourself .. Hilary

Evita said...

Hi Hilary

What I got from this sharing was that you and your mom had/have a beautiful relationship. And there may be no words but the laughter, those belly laughs will always be a part of you - a great feeling part.

It is beautiful to see your bond!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Evita .. thank you .. we have become kindred spirits .. and it's that trust that she automatically was able to put in me - as she knew I was always there for her .. and would be.

I hope her hearing comes back .. but if we have a chatty day like we did recently it will be great .. but those belly laughs have been something else .. we guffawed at times and had nurses running in to see what was happening! Then they collapsed in hysterics too .. good for all of us!

Many thanks for your thoughts and insights .. and it is a joy with me .. the bond that we now have .. - all the best - how's your little haven?! Enjoy your summer days .. Hilary

Patricia said...

What a lovely post and I enjoyed the links and new connections.

I think the trust issue is a big one in mother/daughter relationships...and my mum was able to start trusting me about 5 years before she fractured her back....although she never stopped asking me to do something about my hair!... she was very complimentary about my parenting style as the kids went off to college and about how I could turn a worry into a positive idea....I will treasure those moments, and I was very fortunate that I could devote so much time to her care the last 3 years of her life.

I enjoyed the wordy ideas too...conversations can always be sticky and encouraging, sometimes just plain confusing and so often full of fun -
Thank you for your kind words on my blog with all your moving scramble and pressures coming up - you are amazing Thank you

Sara said...


The communication between you and your mom brought tears to my eyes, even as I laughed about the "cold."

As my parents both died when I was much younger and didn't really appreciate who they were at that time, I am a bit envious that you and your "Ma" still are laughing with each other. I hope you continue to do so:~)

Warm regards....

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. thank you – I know my Mum would be pleased ..

My Ma settled straight away .. in fact that wasn’t so .. but she was in the Acute Brain Injury Unit and they have a very strong team there .. as you’d expect from the name – probably the best place in the country, which was the luck of the draw ... as Mum went there for a ‘normal stroke’ rehab before going home – but there were more strokes on her move .. so up she went to the ABIU.

These last three years+ probably have been the best .. because we have been on the same wave length and been able to laugh all the time .. mind you her antics in her mind, which she used to talk to herself about .. kept me on my toes .. and our interest alive. Sadly I seem to be the only one in the family who comprehends and joins in, and subsequently who benefits.

The word ideas it’s so difficult being able to use only one .. but especially when she was in conversational mode! Let’s hope her hearing comes back .. she says she’s in a blank spot!! Still with it.

It’s a pleasure and your toady post was fun .. Toad of Toad Hall I forgot to mention .. I played Ratty badly – who forgot all his lines!! Lots has happened today .. but I must have another blitz tomorrow .. not long now .. good to see you .. and glad you liked the links over to the songs and to the book/writer’s club .. I must investigate more.

All the best and have a good week .. many thanks for your wonderful comment – hugs to you .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sara .. thank you .. these funny times we have, less often now, .. but I laugh and come away cheerful and so pleased I’ve given her time .. that "essential" for one’s parents. Yes – I miss my father .. having spent time with his two brothers, and sister and her husband, getting to know more about my Dad – he died quite early on.

Mum and I, I reckon, are very lucky, as we have been able to share these times and I’ve been able to glean bits and pieces from her .. and connect with other members of the family; so I appreciate your comments about feeling somewhat envious .. we just have developed this special relationship .. so I’m blessed.

I’m pleased I’ve got my Ma .. but I’d have loved to have spent more time with others of that generation .. it’s only later in life that we realise their gifts to us .. so I too hope that we have fun filled days for a while yet ... with thoughts of those gone before .. and peace to you .. with a big hug .. Hilary

Cath Lawson said...

Hi Hilary - Who is Hardwick? It must be so difficult to communicate under the circumstance but at least you try - and at least you can have a laugh about it.

I got all the pronunciations, which is good since I'm English. But I often find it weird how American's say our words differently. They have tomayto and potayto and I might have understood it wrong but I think they say potty instead of toilet sometimes.

Wilma Ham said...

Oh Hilary, English is hilarious, it is a rotten language to learn though with all those weird pronunciations and spelling and th between your teeth.
Indeed how do you communicate but you seem to do quite well. Isn't being able to laugh together great, and it is interesting that you observe what she remembers and what she forgets.
Much love to both of you and for a hilarious post. xox Wilma

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Cath - Hardwick is Mum’s dog .. he is so lifelike .. occasionally in the hospitals people come up and say .. he shouldn’t be here!! Still he’s been her great comforter .. and travels places with her .. and she talks away happily to him = a great companion! (He must be 80+ years old too!)

Hardwick came from one of Mum’s own patients in her Care Home that she ran in Cornwall .. Mr Tasker was a chemist .. and he was very appreciative of Mum’s care and her thought during his last years (his wife was there too – she was a fusser and a bit of pain! – another scene in the sitcom?) Hardwick Hall is in Derbyshire .. where the Taskers came from .. hence Hardwick’s name.

Good thing .. that we speak English! I’d been playing squash with an Australian friend for years, then when I first went out to South Africa and Zimbabwe, came home and travelled to a friend’s wedding in the States .. I came back and couldn’t speak English .. the four types of English had completely floored my vocal chords .. I guess my brain!! Garbled noises came out .. each of them speaking English with different intonations and as you so rightly say different pronunciations. My English came back after a week or so and a lot of thought to get the words out correctly.

We manage and that’s the main thing – hugs and love .. and touch .. spending time with her .. thanks for coming by .. it’s good to see you – have a good week .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Wilma .. you of all people know how challenging English is to learn .. I have failed to learn other languages more often than I care to admit! I’ve mastered the pronunciations reasonably well now – but absolutely cannot speak any of the languages .. French, Italian, German or Afrikaans .. (the th .. always makes me smile - when I hear it .. immediately identifies someone's homeland?!)

Mum and I manage really very well .. though this lack of hearing does detract from her quality of life .. so I hope it comes back ... and we do laugh a lot and have lots of smiles .. most important now.

I’ve always been amazed at her brain and its memory bank .. everyone says she’ll have short term memory .. but no .. as the loo roll story explains .. but people seem be stuck in that accepted fact .. older people get short term memory loss .. not my mother – she seems to buck the trend! I think I agree with that statement!

Have a good rest of the week and really glad to hear that you enjoyed the post .. I do laugh a lot, which helps enormously .. with love to you both too .. xoxox Hilary

Liara Covert said...

Love how you remind people that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara .. thank you .. it's so important that's what is there is so wonderful. In fact my Ma really doesn't look any different .. and in the hospital they were chuffed when her eyes lit up she gave a huge smile and said thank you. She's always so thoughtful and caring: doesn't over do it - but appreciates all things.

Thank you for being here .. it's wonderful to see you .. all the best in the next few weeks .. happy times ahead .. look after yourself .. Hilary

Talli Roland said...

Aw! Sounds like you and your mum have a wonderful relationship. Loved this post!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Talli .. lovely to see you .. and we do have a great time together .. wonderful memories. So pleased you enjoyed the post.

Good luck with all your authoring - your course at Greenwich sounded fun .. enjoy the week .. Hilary

Anonymous said...

I have nominated your blog for an award. Please stop by to pick it up.

Have a great day!

Marketing Unscrambled, Home edition said...

Hello Hilary,

It is good to see that the two of you can still have a laugh together. It is good to hear about your mother. Give her a hug from us.

Love the show "Waiting for God". They did get up to some funny things.

Have a great day.

Dan and Deanna "Marketing Unscrambled"

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susanne - many thanks .. that's very kind of you .. the versatile blogger award is wonderful. I'm honoured that you thought of me ..

I will have a good rest of the week - the same to you.. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Dan and Deanna .. thank you .. life is a little easier for my mother at the moment .. and she'll be pleased to hear about all her hugs.

Glad you know the show "Waiting for God" .. oddly enough walking down the corridor at the Nursing Centre yesterday .. one of the ladies had that show on her tv!! Small world ...

You too - have a great week .. thanks for coming over .. Hilary

BK said...

Hilary, I was trying hard to follow the conversation you and your mother had. I am pretty sure I would share in the laughter too. It is good to spend loving time with loved ones. Wishing goodness in you and your mother's lives.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi BK .. I'm not surprised .. I didn't want to make it too long .. and obviously it's difficult to get over. The fact that my mother's memory is so good and works differently to most elderly where they just seem to regress or forget - nothing can escape her!!

It was a good day and if we take it as it comes and share her thoughts with her .. on her wave length - it definitely makes this journey so worth while.

The most important thing is we laugh and smile with each other .. and share that which we can .. so thank you for your kind words for us ..

with thoughts to you - Hilary

Peggy Nolan said...

Hi Hilary!

I had my tonsils out when I was 5 or first line of defense for me...oh well...

I'd love to join you for Ghoti and ghoughbteighpteau...that was very interesting...I may have to pick that book up!!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Peggy .. thanks for coming by - I know most people had their tonsils out early .. my brothers did .. I was 'too old' & escaped the cut, until I had huge problems with them in my teens, which went on into my twenties .. then I ended up having two tonsil operations as the back of my throat was infected too?! It's still the weak place .. but I can talk!?

Great - me too .. I'll join you for Ghoti and Ghoughtbeighpteau .. and enjoy chatting to you about the rest of the book ...

Thank you and love and hugs back .. Hilary

Anonymous said...

My wife had her tonsils out about a year ago. She said it was two weeks of pure hell. Who'd think a tonsilectomy could be so painful. No wonder she wanted ice cream.

Stephen Tremp

Vered said...

"Other languages have their eccentric spellings, of course, but English is in a league of its own." - I have to agree!

And now I'm craving fish and chips!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Stephen .. I can sympathise with your wife .. especially as I had to go back and have another one to clear it all up. It was very 'irritating'and hurt a great deal!

Ice cream - yes please! Have a good weekend .. and thanks for coming over .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Vered .. good to see you .. and I hear you - ours are certainly quite tricky .. let alone the pronunciation. Even the local dialects will throw people.

I was listening to a couple of foreign kids, who are staying with host families, and the one chap was saying listening to English was tricky for him .. as the husband had married a Spanish lady .. so the German was trying to learn English via a Spanish woman. Fun??

Fish and chips later on .. definitely .. see you then .. have a good weekend .. Hilary

Liara Covert said...

Love how you find beauty and reason to feel joyful based on your perception of everything.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara .. thank you .. it's so important to be grateful for all around us .. and even though times are challenging .. there is so much else going on that makes life fun and it's important to remember the beauty in our lives ..

Great to see you - enjoy your Christmas .. we used to do it in SA too .. all the best and happy times - Hilary

Chase March said...

Hi Hilary,

Just being together means a lot, I'm sure. The conversation might not have been perfect but at least you were able to talk to each other.

I can't even imagine not being able to confide and share things with my parents. It must be tough.

As for spelling and pronunciation, I'm all for simplifying the English language. We could entirely do away with the "gh" spelling of the /f/ sound. We could also get rid of "c" since it usually makes the same sound as /k/ or /s/.

We could easily decimate our alphabet and spelling patterns. It might make things easier for the upcoming English language learners. Just a thought that I've had for a while now.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chase .. it does - at least I can spend time with her and give her something back .. the conversations in the past have been fine in fact excellent - and it was just lovely to be back experiencing something similar again.

It is tough .. but having been able to talk to each other happily for the last 3.5 years has made a big difference .. for both of us.

Simplifying the English language .. do you think texting will do anything for us?

Changing a language - I guess will come about organically .. and they've tried Esperanto .. I was interested in this description in Wikipedia:

Zamenhof's goal was to create an easy to learn and politically neutral language that would serve as a universal second language to foster peace and international understanding.

That was in 1887 .. nothing much has changed though ...

Decimilisation is still a challenge to me .. & was brand new when I was in my early 20s .. never quite got to grips with it .. think what would happen with a language???

Enjoy the weekend and being out of school! Hilary

Mandy Allen said...

Hilary, excellent, excellent, as always. I love your command of the English language and the way you weave the stories you tell. This post was particularly pertinent for me today - my mum had a fall Thursday night and broke her hip very badly so had major surgery yesterday. With her other health issues it is all rather complicated and this post had me thinking of our very special relationship we've particularly had since her first stroke in 1992. This is a lovely post, so very lovely. I'm glad you can still enjoy some special times with your mum. They are precious people in our lives.

Anyway, about language, I text an American friend to say 'mum's just gone into theatre' yesterday and she had to ring me to ask what on earth I meant! 'In America we go to the theatre to watch plays and eat popcorn' she said. I then told her that my friend was the theatre sister on duty so that was good, and she asked if she was a nun. The same language but so very different!

Enjoy the journey.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mandy .. sorry to hear about your mother and her hip .. I do hope she will be as comfortable and as peaceful as she can be - and you too .. not easy times for you. I'll be thinking of you.

I'm pleased that the post resonated with you - and those particular emotions, feelings and memories are being recalled by you .. as your mother recovers and you can sit quietly with her as she slowly improves. They are certainly very precious people in our lives .. and I'm so lucky to have this time with my Ma.

Language .. isn't that funny about our understanding of theatre .. and the sister .. when I go to the States .. the same kind of things crop up .. so I must say I try and post with straight English language .. but I'm sure some of my words resonate completely differently with blogging friends in other parts of the world.

Glad you, as an English lady!, appreciated the type of conversation I was having .. it was fun .. she can now hear a little - but being back in hospital again (2nd time) is a little frustrating ..

I do hope all goes well with your mother - with thoughts - Hilary

Davina said...

You and your mother have playful spirits, Hilary.

What a delight to have such a strong connection on such a deeper level. I think when our surface communication is limited we can connect on much deeper levels as you two are. This is making me realize how much I must miss when I rely on the usual senses.

Barbara Swafford said...

Hi Hilary,

I am still smiling as I write this. The belly laughs you and your mom have bring back wonderful memories for me and when my mom was still alive.

I love the part where your mom says, "I don’t want to see your tonsils.." That had to have been funny.

Even though your mom can't hear, it sounds like you make her life enjoyable. What a good daughter you are, and she knows that, too.

((hugs)) to you and your mom.

Blue Bunny said...

deerist my hilree, i am thinking about you mutch wit loves. i thinks abut yoo evree day, hopping you are wel and happee.

yor frend forevver.

Blue Bunny

Davina said...

Hi folks,
specifically Barbara and the Blue Bunny (and me, lol). Hilary is in the process of moving and has requested that I leave a note here for her readers, as follows:

"Blogger won't let me comment back to you, Barbara Swafford & Blue Bunny; but will get back up and running in a day or two."

Good luck with your move, Hilary. One box at a time... one breath at a time :-) Sending hugs to you and your mother.

Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord said...

Hi, Hilary!

I loved reading about your latest speaking adventure with your mom. Thank you for sharing it, and doing so in such a vivid, fun way. Your mom, from all I've read on your blog, sounds like a fantastic woman. Sitting, laughing, and learning about various topics sounds like a fun way to spend an afternoon. I don't see my own mom very often (we live in different parts of the U.S.). Reading about you and yours lets me dream a little and wonder, "What would that be like?"

You know, I was thinking about you the other day when I came upon one of my favorite summer field flowers: Queen Ann's Lace. I wondered if you'd ever written about it before. I am curious as to how it got its name.

Wishing you a great Wednesday!

Jannie Funster said...

Oh, thanks for the updates, Davina. I should get over across the pond and help dear Hilary move!!

xoxoxo to all you sweeties.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary

Looks like a busy time but very glad to hear your mother is alright

See you soon

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi everyone .. proper replies to your comments shortly .. have moved - but in some chaos .. sorting things out - lap top around.. leads elsewhere etc etc ..

Mum ok had her op - back up at her Nursing Centre soon ...

I'll be back up and running soon ..

Thanks for your support .. have great weekends .. cheers Hilary

Liara Covert said...

Amazing how the mind blocks one from seeing what is truly there. Some people reduce the present moment as a means to an end. Other people sense the present moment is all that is.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Davina .. thanks so much for commenting – even in hospital now – she’s still full of life – and she can hear again .. so that makes a big difference. She’s always delighted to see me & said I hadn’t visited her yesterday! – she simply didn’t remember as it was the day of her op.

It’s been a huge boon that we have this wonderful relationship – made such a difference to both our lives … and you’re right once I’ve settled again and can be myself I’ll definitely try and bring in this deeper level of understanding ..

For now – must on – but thanks so much for your thoughts – laughter has certainly been one of the best things for us …have a great Sunday – with hugs - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Barbara .. thank you so much – I’m so pleased you can relate and that you too have happy memories of the laughing times you had with your mother.

She did it again yesterday in the hospital .. always has done .. the extraordinary bit is where she carries on the conversation .. with look it up .. and then tells me what they’re for – so correct!

Now she can hear .. so that is good news .. but needs time to assimilate the conversation .. still at least we can talk again .. but if she doesn’t like the answer – I get ‘why not?’ .. now that is difficult!

Still we can laugh and as you rightly says she knows I’m there – a huge beam of a smile when I walked in yesterday!

Hugs back to you too – now I can tell her about her overseas ‘friends’ again .. she loves hearing about everyone … so I shall relay your thoughts .. thank you - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi BB .. tank U for your toughts .. & luvs .. I am well and am hopping around .. life has been a little buzy this week & will be .. but I am on two feets!

Goodeee .. I luvs frends forever … byse bye BB – enjoy yore Sunday .. luvs and hugs to Funsterland .. xoxoxoxo Hilree

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Davina .. thanks so much for following instructions! From this side of the pond .. when I was having so much difficulty … life is not exactly straight forward now .. but as you said .. one box at a time .. and a few breaths in between!!

Mum as well as can be expected as you’ll have read from the other comments ..

Thanks so much – now she can hear – she’ll love to be regaled with stories .. from Vancouver .. and places we’ve seen .. I’m so grateful for your help – much appreciated at what’s been and is a tricky time .. – tree or bear hugs back! .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Megan .. thank you! Queen Anne’s Lace .. is the wild carrot .. it is very pretty with its lacy flower covering .. apparently it was so called this when Queen Anne pricked her finger and a drop of blood fell onto the lace .. – the centre of the white lacy florets is red to attract pollinating insects – unfortunately it is considered a noxious weed in the States! Though it is a beneficial companion plant attracting predatory wasps .. boosts tomato plant production and provides a micro climate of cooler, moister air for lettuce – when intercropped with it … so is it good or bad?

Queen Anne was the wife of James VI of Scotland and 1 of England .. he presided over the Union of Scotland and England in the early 1600s .. she came from Denmark.

Now my mother can hear Megan – we’re in for all kind of treats again .. I never know which direction the conversation is going .. it keeps me on my toes .. over the years we have had fun learning .. I do hope you can get to spend some time with your mother .. the States is such a huge place ..

I loved your comment – it sent me off on rambling thoughts .. even as I packed before I moved out of my house on Thursday .. I thought I must remember to keep out books to answer your question .. not sure I succeeded there – had to resort to Wiki!! Lots of interesting information though – deserves more attention once I’m back a little more settled.

Great to see you – it was an awful Wednesday!!! .. packing is never fun .. ??!! Byeeee – and great to see you here .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Gill ...thanks for calling in - and for commenting .. all is well - bye for now - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara .. thank you .. it is that distinction of how we react with the situation .. and I learn with my mother to be as present as I can .. it is the last period of her life .. so I want to give as much as I can .. she said yesterday – she is back! Her mind is just plain busy and occupied with all sorts of wonderful thoughts ..

Good to see you and thanks for the comment .. have a good week .. Hilary

Barbara Swafford said...

Hi Hilary,

That's good news about your mum. How fun it will be for you to tell her about your overseas friends who are wishing her happy thoughts, too.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Barbara .. thank you .. yes Mum will be delighted .. let's hope she gets back up today ..

Great to hear from you - thank you .. Hilary

Will Burke said...

We certainly do have a queer language, eh? Over here (in the colonies), singular "Woman" has more of a 'U' or 'O' sound, but the plural or possesive takes the 'I' sound. Other than that, your wonky spellings are bang-on!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Will .. you’re right – just glad I don’t have to learn it! I think your woman is how I would say it .. but it gets shortened to the i .. in different areas of England .. so we are getting a real mixed back of sounds. Please teach me the English language sometime!

It’s quite fun to discuss the origins of words and where they came from .. but we do have wonky spellings .. and I love your concept of ‘bang-on’!

Great to see you .. all the best Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Will .. if you pick this up - can you email me please ..

Thanks .. can't find your email .. and I know mine isn't up either!

I can't comment on your blog .. as the 'comment profile drop down box' doesn't work .. I couldn't even post here = ridiculous as it's my own blog - well theoretically!

I used this blog as help .. which sorted my own blog out ..

Erin S. said...

You are doing such a fine thing, caring for your mother. You know which point is important enough to clarify and the ones to let go. I know she appreciates your love and care. Blessings to you Hilary!

Lori (JaneBeNimble) said...

Oh my, I loved the videos at the end -- and of course the antics with your Mum, too, Hilary.

You've really touched my heart.
You're such a wonderful daughter and friend. Thanks for sharing your life with us. Sending hugs and love to you!

Liara Covert said...

Wonderful to remember that when certain physical senses are muted or absent, others are magnified. Non-physical senses are also always present beyond the scope of physical awareness. This reminds us we all experience where we are on many levels. Yet, it is human (mental) conditioning to notice and focus on what is apparently limited or lacking. All the while, love is expressed and received in infinite ways.

In truth, states of mind are losing their control over our experience. As we grow more open, the mind seems to move out of the way to make room for more expansive experiences. In other words, you are far more than you realize and your mom experiences things that cannot be put into words or conveyed in ways the mind understands.

An analogy can be found in dreams. Some people dream in the form of narrative stories that are similar to waking life. Other people have dreams that communicate through sound, light, texture, feeling and sensation. The messages are understood by the dreamer and sometimes shared through telepathy with those people who relate. Yet, people who do not share similar experience may feel such dreams do not make sense as they do not relate.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Erin .. thank you so much .. poor Mum can’t take everything in – though a lot of the time she amazes me .. how much she does take in – even now. Yes – she certainly is always very pleased to see me and grateful I’m there for her .. I’m lucky! It’s great to see – thanks for stopping by .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lori .. yes – those videos are amazing .. and the song is so evocative .. especially the words “and we laughed” – Mum and I do make the most of the scenarios we find ourselves in.

I bumped into a cleaner at the hospital yesterday & her mother was in the bed next to my Ma’s last year .. and the great grand-daughter Catarina (8) visited everyday & struck up a friendship with Mum and Hardwick! .. I wrote a post to Catarina about Madeira .. her homeland and Madeira wine – do you know the Flanders and Swann songs .. post war ... the link is there – if you have a moment .. ?

Just so happy you enjoyed the post .. I don’t do Mum ones very often – but just wanted to share this particular circumstance .. I forget so many! The words and phrases she comes out with .. so often make me laugh – so spot on .. as though there’s nothing wrong with her!

Thanks Lori – really appreciate your sentiments .. it’s lovely to see you here .. and for the hugs and love – certainly these are much much appreciated .. have a lovely Friday your end of the world .. with a big hug back .. Hilary xoxox

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara .. thank you for these thoughts – you’ve put into words things I’ve been feeling, but am not able to express ... and I would so much like to get into Mum’s mind sometimes! She says something & I miss it – but won’t repeat it .. she says I heard it! She wanted to write something the other day – when she couldn’t hear .. amazing she could write – again I couldn’t read it (unfortunately) .. but she won’t say the words out loud as she writes!

She has wonderful times drifting around the world, visiting her castles, going to different countries – who else would go from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso .. (a great many wouldn't know where they were!) without a care in the world – taking us with her .. & Hardwick and the nurses to care for her!!

We have a purple people’s palace which transports us to Cornwall .. do I know the way .. who is going with whom? Where are Uncle Jimmy and Aunty Phyllis .. her father’s brother & wife – whom Mum cared for in her Care Home .. they died in the late 80s! Are we all ready and accounted for!

So I’m so grateful for this explanation .. and I think I do understand a lot more now – Janice (our massage therapist) helps me in this arena .. as she certainly is receptive to other communication and ‘travellers’ both gone and going.

Liara .. this is such a helpful comment to me .. and one I’ll come back to often .. thank you – have a wonderful Friday and weekend .. Hilary

Trulyana said...

What a truly wonderful story, brings to light the reality of communication even where there is no communication. It's wonderful how we connect with others, even when there is no communication and I think that is where the true value lies in that very connection.
I enjoyed reading about your experience with your mother. She sounds like a great character, and I wish her well with where she is.
This reminds me of the time I took a group of Diego Garcian and Chagossian over 60's (who didn't speak a word of English, only hello and bye) and two British ladies (over 60's) for a day at the seaside (Brighton) to explore the sea, the pier and have a day observing the mammals at sea world. Although they didn't speak to each other, they got on so well as each helped each other out through simple acts of kindness, and it is that which bought them together to be as friends. Love is sure powerful, through the connection we have with one another. Just a tiny response can make one big difference - especially where people are concerned. (or animals for that matter) Love and kindness go hand in hand in connection. So good to be back on your blog reading your lovely experiences. :)
Hope you are well, and enjoying the British Summer.
Kind Regards x

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ana .. thank you! I’m really pleased you can ‘see’ the value that my mother and I still have despite at that stage – lack of communication. Fortunately now she’s hearing again & I hope today she’ll get back to the Nursing Centre – where I can visit whenever I like. She certainly is a great character and that has really come to the fore during this illness period .. I have been really lucky and blessed with her strength of character to cope and accept and trust.

Your experience with the Diego Garcian and Chagossian, together with two English ladies to the seaside – what a project! Wonderful to hear how they coped and helped each other so much .. gentle acts of a tap on the shoulder, a comforting stroke of the arm, a big smile and thumbs up .. they must have enjoyed the day, the sights, the sounds and their new found friends ..

Exactly as you say .. love is sure powerful for people and for animals and all bugs and beasties ..bit and small and microscopic ..

Great to see you & welcome back .. not sure what you’ve done with the weather?! It’s damp here .. but still warm enough .. have a great weekend .. and see you soon around the blogosphere .. Hilary