I Love a Good Scare – as Long as I Can Control it!

The Monster Mash

I can’t believe it’s Hallowe’en again.  The clocks have gone back.  It’s raining all the time and we’re all getting our flu and Covid booster jabs.  I am avoiding news, preferring to scare myself with Gothic tales rather than dwelling on Covid and Climate Change.  It’s not that I don’t care – I just can’t deal with it right now. I have been enjoying wearing my Skeleton hoodie (instant slimming effect)  and decorating the dining room (with help from B)  My fairy costume from 2019 is too tight but I have a replacement – lacy top, black net skirt and creepy cardigan, to wear with my black lace-up boots. We have stocks of suitable sweeties for visiting children.  Uh -oh.  Wrote this before my fall.  See below.  Maybe not the boots.  I now have a snazzy purple cast on my right leg.  Actually modifying my dressing-up plans.  Now settling for elastic-waisted trousers (grey velvet) instead of the skirt. B is still coming and will distribute goodies to any guisers who arrive. If the rain continues it seems unlikely there will be many.

This month’s Tarot card is The Hierophant, sometimes called the Pope.  An archetypal religious figure, seen as the Wise Old Man.  He meets with human figures, seeking help in resolving the problems of the world.  We could do with some of that just now, but ultimately we have to have find wisdom within ourselves.

I am working on my weight, having gained nearly a stone since April.  Six months of health problems and medication changes has taken its toll, along with no swimming, walking or Pilates.  Trying meal replacements with advice from doctor.  I’ve found some that I like, others are competely disgusting! I find having four 200 calorie meals a day from packets suits my lifestyle and lack of interest in cooking.  However, eating a meal bar while friends C and M scoffed bacon rolls was a test of my commitment!  I would welcome news of anyone else’s experience with this.

Alice mixed media

I finished my latest painting.  I find it a bit disturbing but in a good way, I think.  My Alice obsession has crept in. I have some sketches from the Roman museums at Hadrian’s Wall which will be the basis for the next picture.  Yesterday I did a Screen Printing course at Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre.  It was good although I struggled a bit with pushing and pulling the squeegee across the screen. I managed to catch my bad ankle on the corner of a workbench, falling flat on the concrete floor.  First aider, accident report form, A & E.  Ruptured tendon.  In plaster.  Two or three months recovery time.  I did manage to complete my prints with help from M, the wonderful course leader.   I used a drawing from the museum to make a stencil.

Romans – Screenprint

I am also knitting.  A hat for Cannyrob to replace a favourite he lost on a tram five years ago.  We finally completed last Christmas’s jigsaw, The World of Shakespeare, thanks to a major input by Daughter who left a few gaps for B and myself to fill in.  We have two new ones for this year.  I might start one while I’m stuck at home.a

World of Shakespeare jigsaw

I’ve been reading a mix of fiction and non-fiction. Some Gothic stuff of course, but  Covent Garden Ladies provides a revealing insight into Georgian London. In Cold Blood was our reading group book for this month. It was one of those books I assumed I had read but actually hadn’t.  It led to a lively discussion of good and evil, crime and punishment. Alchemy and Rose was too much like The Luminaries but not as good. House of Bells and Mexican Gothic were enjoyable page-turners. The Castaways was not very good at all. Finished the Jane Austen Collection on Audible. Still listening to Stalingrad in manageable chunks, with Daughter’s recommendation of When Women Ruled the World and Waykenhurst as light relief

Cannyrob and I managed to get some garden tidying done – geraniums into the greenhouse, new roses planted, Desdemona and The Poet’s Wife.  The three bushes planted earlier have done well, especially Iceberg, still flowering.  I have not been able to do much at all, with the result that Cannyrob has taken on a leading role and is becoming an enthusiast.

I’ve been looking for stuff to watch on Netflix in the afternoons and found Unorthodox, a serious drama based on the experience of a young woman leaving a strict Jewish community, then found My Unorthodox Life, a reality show about an older woman with a high flying fashion career from a similar background.  Very different, raising issues about family and independence.  I got hooked on Clickbait, a psychological serial with social media as its theme.  We watched The North Water (chilling), Ridley Road, the new series of Silent Witness, The White Lotus and Succession on Now TV.  Some good new stuff for winter, like Shetland and Hollington Drive. Back to Life was a good IPlayer recommendation about a woman leaving prison.  Angela Black is an intriguing serial starring Joanne Froggatt currently on STV.

We had a week’s holiday in the campervan in Northumberland.  It was wet and windy.  Lots of green fields, sheep and cows.  A visit to Barter Books in Alnwick (old station) is always worth visiting with its model railway, cafe and huge stock of second-hand books.  The new Roman Army Museum at Vindolanda had plenty to keep us occupied.   I was happy to get home, however, especially as I couldn’t do any walking but it does feel good to have been away. 

We can settle into winter now and look forward to a more normal Christmas, or so we hope…let me know how you are just now. I think some people are feeling low, uncertain.  How do we deal with this?  My title, from Emma Brockes in the Guardian, reflects this. It’s the out of control scariness that is hard to handle.

Thanks for all the feedback. I feel a bit like an influencer, given positive responses to my fashion spot last time! As I'm going to be stuck at home for a while I will be even more dependent on my online pals. Keep in touch via Comments, Facebook, WhatsApp or email timewithelinor@gmail.com


Out of My Control

Three days later I am in bed, feeling the effects of slamming face down on a concrete floor.  As well as rupturing my already injured Achilles tendon, I have bruised my knees, hips, shoulders and arms.  My ribs hurt.  I feel shaky and tired.  I am on a blood thinner which can have side effects and I am headachey.

I am shocked by my inability to manage on crutches.  My shoulders hurt and my fingers won’t grip.  I am dependent on Cannyrob for everything.  There is no bodily function that is private. I can’t have a bath or a shower.  We improvised today with me on the commode in the bathroom being hosed down with the shower head.

I am lucky to have neighbours to help……..a wheelchair and commode arrived within hours of my return from hospital.  Thank you so much, L-A! Family and friends have been loving and supportive but I have probably presented them with my made-up face and positive attitude.  Underneath I am shaken and frightened. I feel suddenly vulnerable. The only way up and downstairs is on my butt.  Awkward, painful and very, very slow.  That’s why I am not doing it if I can avoid it. I feel shut off from the outside world. Cancelling plans.  Missing events.

Now I am eating my diet bar and will get ready to get off the bed and be wheeled into the sitting room when Cannyrob comes back up. I’m finding it hard to read. Or knit. Maybe TV will be easier.

Anyway, that’s it for now. I’m posting a daily ‘story’ on Instagram (elinordewarkirk}. Nothing exciting but it gives me a focus. Do contact me if you have any words of encouragement, commiseration or distraction! I am not fine right now so I am not going to pretend otherwise. Love, Elinor

By Elinor Kirk

Granma of WeeBoy, mum of Daughter, Son and Daughter, partner of Cannyrob, blogger since 1999, retired dramatherapist, would-be artist with Gothic leanings.

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