Saturday 9th April
Not the album by Dylan, great as it is but the realisation of what is really important, so I suppose the sentence should really be ‘Bringing it all home to me’. We are such petty selfish little creatures, forever complaining, never really happy or content with our lot. Always looking over our shoulders at others we perceive as luckier, wealthier or happier than we are; not for a moment considering that many and possible most others are looking over their shoulders thinking almost the same about us. And the things we worry about are so small, the electricity bill, or a leaky tap we should really fix, or some correspondence we have received (especially if it is in French) or an imminent visit or journey we have to make. Or even worse, when we feel a bit downtrodden, taken for granted or ignored, we begin to say to ourselves how miserable our lives are, how nobody knows what we have to put up with and such nonsense.
We have a roof over heads when many are homeless; or even country-less as a war we helped to start and now are having difficulty finishing reduces their poor and once beautiful country to rubble. And we have the temerity to complain of migrants coming here and getting benefits (it is the same complaint one hears here in France, encouraged by a right-wing press just as in England). We are warm, even if we complain about the price of electricity, we are never really cold. We have plenty of clothes, in fact most of us wear more or less the same things, ignoring perfectly good alternatives hanging in our wardrobes; none of which stops us buying even more through boredom or a feeling that we want to reward ourselves. We have plenty of food; Supermarkets have never been so abundantly full of stuff – and relatively cheaper than ever before too. There is of course still starvation and hunger in many parts of the World, not least some deprived areas of our major cities, but this barely makes the news these days; only when it is too late and hundreds are dying do we raise our heads from the trough.
And we are well and healthy, a few minor aches and pains notwithstanding, we still have better healthcare than any generations before us, medical breakthroughs keep revolutionising what is possible and over half of cancer patients now survive (only to die of something else eventually of course). Which brings me to the reason for this blog. One of the women we know here in Eymet is in hospital. A few weeks ago she seemed fit and well, though she complained of a bad back. Gradually she was in more and more pain and seeing various doctors. She has cancer in her vertebrae, and it has spread to her lung and elsewhere too. What the prognosis is we don’t yet know – but it isn’t looking good. She is fifty-eight. So hearing that news today has brought it all home to me. I will try to stop whingeing on about anything and everything (none of which really matters), at least for a while and hope sincerely that our friend can recover.