WORKING OUT

woman-lifting-free-weights-in-fitness-gym-assembly

(photo credit – http://www.fineartamerica.com)

 

Well … I’ve made a decision [round of applause, please]. I’ve decided, after living much of my adult life in a wheelchair and needing carers, that I’m going to get myself fit. I’m going to get fit in my city’s main gym – working out – [yes, me, little Ellie, working out – you heard right]. My brilliant idea is that maybe – just maybe – I would be able to manage a bit more independently without having to rely on carers so much.  I am very serious about it, and it would be amazing to achieve this.

Having made this great pledge to myself, I set off for the sports centre for the first time today.  I bought my ticket and a membership card and wheeled through the turnstile, along with an unexpected and very excited party of primary school children who were waiting to go into the pool for their swimming lesson.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I entered the door to the gym. I was wasn’t entirely surprised to find there were a few keen, male bodybuilders and one or two rather muscular, female weightlifters, all of which looked like they had popped a few steroids before they’d come out! However, I wasn’t particularly concerned [‘each to their own’, I thought].

I slid quietly passed them, trying not to look too conspicuous in my pair of blue jeans, a tee-shirt and a purple and white sweatshirt (which I couldn’t get changed out of without the help of a carer who I didn’t have with me). Compared to everyone else in their smart sports gear, I did, indeed, look conspicuous. I pulled off the sweater and bravely bared my arms in a vain attempt to fit the image a little more. I failed, miserably, but was nevertheless determined to get started – onwards and upwards!

One of the instructors met me a few minutes later, and having assessed me gave me a print out of the exercises I needed to do. I was keen to begin my workout. I didn’t know the names of half the equipment, but I managed to locate the weights and thought I’d start with them. I picked up the 2 kg dumbbell, and my arm plummeted towards the gym floor … I’d better start with a lighter one, I decided, and then chose the ½ kg weight. That was better although I felt a bit pathetic attempting to raise my arm above my head with what looked like a pencil with two blunt ends. I managed two lots of ten lifts with each arm altogether which was a fair start.

I gradually worked my way through my programme and finished after an hour, feeling suitably proud of myself. I felt really good and had thoroughly enjoyed it. I refilled my water bottle, went out into the caféteria area and treated myself to a vitamin-packed mango, spinach, kale and celery smoothie which was delicious despite the fact that it looked the same colour and consistency of the green sludge that floats across the top of my garden pond from time-to-time. Trust me … it was lovely.

I eagerly finished that up and left the sports centre absolutely buzzing with endorphins, and now, I can’t wait to go again on Tuesday. I’m so excited by the prospect of possibly being able to manage with less care, so achieving more independence. The sun was shining, warm on my back on the journey home and I must have looked a bit daft as I wheeled along with a smile on my face like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland!

woman in wheelchair exercise equipment

(photo credit – http://www.nchpad.org)

 

 

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MOVING FORWARD – THE PASSAGE OF TIME AND BIRTHDAY CAKE

Image result for Steampunk Clock

Why an image of a clock to begin this post with? This is because it is actually a good depiction of my feelings and where I’ve been at for some time. Life has felt rather surreal during this last year. The clock face also shows the passage of time I have been through over the last few months.

At last, I’m beginning to feel like I’m getting back to normal after my Mum became ill, had a stroke, and I finally lost her only five months ago (almost to the day). There was the funeral to get through (and all that encompassed) and now, we are dealing with probate, Mum’s will and the sale of our family home after spending my first twenty years of life there.

However, as far as my psychiatric health in concerned, I’m feeling brighter which is good (and about time too). I am now on different and new medication which, in the last week has begun to help improve my state of mind, and I’m sleeping so much better which makes a great difference to how I feel during the day. The severe anxiety attacks have also lessened which is a huge relief.

The many cogs in this clock also represent changes in a more positive way … slowly … as time has ticked by and the wheels have been turning, my relationship with my son has improved, and we have become closer which means I have more contact with my two beautiful grandchildren, Josh and Lily who are a delight to me. I have definitely become closer to my sisters, particularly the one who lives the furthest away from me. We may be separated by many miles but are hearts are inextricably linked and always will be.

The recent passage of time, like each cog, has been whirring, clicking and ticking by slowly but steadily. A lot else has changed in that time too. My eldest granddaughter has now turned eleven and will be going up to senior school in September, and my youngest granddaughter will be starting primary school at the age of four-and-a-half (she seems too young). Where has the time gone? Am I really old enough to have a granddaughter in senior school? Goodness! I must be older than I think! I’m definitely older in years than I feel and I am fortunate enough to be told by several people that I don’t look my age. However, I am reluctantly coming up to ‘a biggy’; a big ‘0’ birthday in three month’s time (which I’m trying to ignore) … ugh! How am I going to get all my candles on one cake?!

Image result for Birthday Cake with Many Candles

In addition, I would like to say thank you to my dearest friends here at WordPress who have stuck by me through thick and thin over the last year or so – it can’t have been easy at times. Their blogs have kept my head above water some of that time by distracting me with their diversity, interest, humour and compassion. So, shout out to Bun at https://bunkaryudo.wordpress.com/ and Mick at https://mickcanning.co/ and Carol anne of https://therapybits.com/. Also, thank you to any of you who may have called in or dropped by my blog and hung around with support and kind words too. Love to you all, Ellie xxx

LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE.

don't need to sit on a cactus

I certainly was given a cactus many years ago as is evident in my earlier writings about my very abusive childhood and not too pretty adulthood. I don’t intend to go back to that time of my life. It’s now a case of ‘been there; done that’, you’ll be pleased to hear. I’ve been sitting on the cactus for too long, and it’s getting too prickly so, now is the time to get off.

I’ve been taking life far too seriously of late so, although there may still be the odd solemn post because life isn’t always a bundle of laughs, on the whole, I want to lighten up a bit. [“Phew”] – Was that a big sigh of relief that I detected from my faithful followers? Yes? I don’t blame you – it’s as much of a relief to me as it is to you 🙂

Yep! It’s true that I will always have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or Emotional Intensity Disorder [as they are now beginning to refer to this condition] and this really can mess up my head at times. I’ve included an excellent link to explain what it’s like living inside the mind of some people with BPD. Please take the time to read it if you are interested – it’s not long-winded or boring, I promise: http://themighty.com/2016/07/how-to-explain-borderline-personality-disorder-to-loved-ones/

So, what of late? George (my new wheelchair, if you haven’t yet been introduced), is behaving himself brilliantly, and I love the fact that I can whizz down the path by the river at a colossal speed of 6mph. That’s 2mph faster than Charlie ever did although, fair credit to him – he did turn on a sixpence with much more finesse than George. George is nippier, although the little devil doesn’t much like getting up too close and personal with the veg section in my local Tesco’s. As for poor old Charlie, he’s sitting and looking very bored in the garage but as from today, he’s up for sale, on eBay listed as having been ‘a dear friend to one careful lady owner’ and ‘in need of a new home’. Although he’s seen better days and won’t go the distance anymore, he’ll do someone a good turn if they just want him for indoor and local use.

Oh, have I not mentioned the new addition to the family? I am now the very proud owner of a two gleaming, new, white patio doors (twins, of course). They’re sleeping soundly at present down at the dining-room end of my living-room. When they get mucky, they much prefer a duster to a wet-wipe. I’ve not named them yet; however, several names spring to mind, Tom & Jerry, Fred & Freda, Ant & Dec … I’m undecided. All suggestions are very welcome. They are looking very grand which is about the amount much they bumped up my credit card bill by. Needs must, though – with fair due, they’ve seen better days, 10,957 of them, in fact! I will bid you adieu while I leave you working out the equation of days into years.

 

AIRING MY DIRTY LAUNDRY IN PUBLIC

ddirty laundry

Why write a blog? Why write a blog at all? Why do I feel the need to share with total strangers, my innermost thoughts, my idiosyncrasies, my Pandora’s Box of secrets that if written in a diary, would, without a doubt, be kept under lock and key?

When I write, I pour my heart out, as if I were talking back at myself, as if I were confiding in a much-trusted friend or a therapist. I write under a pseudonym to protect my anonymity and to keep the contents away from those prying eyes outside of the blogging world that would tear me to pieces in disbelief if they read the fairly shocking truth of my actual life.

One dear friend who has discovered I keep a blog and just cannot understand the logic of it, has said so many times, “what do you want to put your innermost secret of secrets out there for?” Then adding, “Why on Earth do you want to air your dirty laundry in public”?

I hesitate, giving this careful thought, cautious not to make their opinion of me worse. I fail miserably by saying things like, “I get to know other people who often feel as I do or at least are interested enough to want to read past the first few lines”. “I get support”, I say. “Who from?” is the next question and they then add one long string of complicated technical words like, “What a lot of rubbish you are mumbling. These computers are just machines that speak to each other”. They then sometimes state the obvious in that machines don’t have emotions or character, but plainly, they completely fail to understand that there are people with thoughts, worries, ideas and feelings, at the receiving end of these much-criticised machines.

I feel I have made good friends; friends who I can share humour with or occasionally share my darkest, deepest thoughts with who do not rebuke me, nor criticise my language skills. And I feel very privileged to be thought of as trustworthy enough to read of other blogger’s inner worlds.

The world of bloggers is as secret as it is public: We spill the contents of our hearts onto the paper under glass, usually under a pen-name so as not to be discovered, and before we know it, we’ve pressed the PUBLISH button, and there it all goes, spewing out into the world for all and sundry to see.

Personally, I feel it helps me. It is the time I can let go of my thoughts and inhibitions and just share what happens to be in or on my mind and that it always a relief. However, when my words go out into the universe, I am self-critical about what I have written, and find myself thinking, ‘Well, that wasn’t even worth the paper it was written on! Who on Earth seriously wants to read my thoughts?’ But occasionally, I get feedback to say I have helped someone feel less alone, or that we have shared some humour, so that makes at least two of us who have benefitted at least somewhat! Sometimes I don’t get feedback, or I have doubts about what I have written and am only too ready, and sometimes do actually hit the DELETE button, and there it all goes, gone, out into the ether, unspoken and unheard.

 

 

 

FALLING IN LOVE

first date words (George)

 

You know that feeling when you first meet someone and you’re not sure how you feel about them, but you meet up with them a second time to try to get to know them a little better? And then, the second time, you think you like them but you’re not entirely convinced yet. So, you arrange to go out again, for coffee this time and decide to try to make your mind up. You don’t want to keep messing them about. You need to make a decision as to whether you would like to get together and spend more time with each other or go your separate ways.

One week later – Decision made. Everybody says how good we look together and how well-suited we are. We’re both happy although I have to say, I am vaguely aware that it’s early days yet and there’s bound to be hiccups in any new relationship.

A week later, I’m completely convinced that I’ve done the right thing, and love is now, well and truly in the air, as they say. We have a date tonight – we’re going to the city’s main theatre to see an excellent and very gifted female comedian, live on stage. I’m so looking forward to it – I must remember to put the tickets in my purse before we leave and before I forget. We’re right in the front row so should get an excellent view.

The show was great, I had a good laugh but also learned a lot of things I didn’t know too. It finished quite late, at least late for me as someone who goes to bed early and is up as a lark in the mornings; well maybe not a lark, more like an antelope that’s been on the gin!

It’s time for bed now so I ‘elegantly’ glide up the stairs with Brian, my stairlift (so named after Brian, the slow snail in the old children’s programme ‘The Magic Roundabout’. All things considered, Brian behaves reasonably well contrary to some of the ‘funny business’ that was going on behind the scenes at that programme for those of you who might remember it!) I clean my teeth and at last, I fall happily into bed.

So, where is my partner? Oh, did I forget to mention that my new partner’s name is George and he is happily and peacefully downstairs snoozing downstairs in the hallway, and is getting his energy back, ready for tomorrow? Yes, you’ve got it … George is my new wheelchair (he’s plugged in and charging up). And yes, I know I introduced Prince George to you previously but now his shiny crown has fallen off and I’ve got to know the real George underneath, I like him much better and we’ve truly fallen in love now. Well, they say ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.

PRINCE GEORGE (THE CASE AGAINST)

Well, sadly, that’s the end of Charlie, my wheelchair. He has finally given up the ghost and gone to that great big wheelchair heaven in the sky. I’ve been without Charlie for nearly a month now and have been cooped up indoors, slowly climbing the walls and developing a serious bout of cabin fever. Oh, it’s so sad and so hard to let him go after four long and faithful years.

Farewell, Charlie x

Charllie front

 

Introducing ‘Prince George’

I have now had to acquire a new wheelchair, although due to a serious lack of funds, he is somewhat, or should I say, considerably, inferior to Charlie. So, let me introduce ‘Prince George’, ordinarily known as George (and will possibly become Georgie if he behaves himself and endears himself to me a little more).

George 1

Today was my first full day of driving him and, oh boy, am I feeling it now?! Ouch! Prince George has so far shown himself to be very inconsiderate despite the deceiving ‘go faster stripes’ on either side of his back and his smart blue paintwork. I have noted the following points of comparison in the case against Prince George:

  • His back is tough vinyl whereas Charlie was comfortably upholstered.
  • George has four wheels, much more difficult to drive than Charlie’s well-balanced six wheels.
  • Parking is a nightmare … Charlie could do a nifty three-point turn. George just about manages it in fifteen points, (give or take a few).
  • Charlie had a neat, flip-up footplate whereas George has two very stiff footrests (I think he’s developed arthritis at an early age) .
  • George feels every bump in the pavement and he feels like he’s climbing the humps on a Bactrian camel’s back.
  • The armrests are plastic, as hard as cement which is tough on the elbows, as opposed to Charlie’s softly-cushioned arms.
  • I came home today totally exhausted and with my back feeling like I’d run a marathon in stiletto heels.

However, I do have to say in defence of George:

  • He has fitted LED headlights and rear lights for coming home on those chilly and dark winter nights when a starless sky is as black as coal.
  • He even has left and right indicators although because the controls are completely different, I indicated to turn left when I was trying to turn the speed down and I ended up having a close encounter with a brick wall which had very conveniently placed itself in my way.
  • George even has hazard warning lights – very useful in my case as the sheer effort of trying to keep him straight on a narrow footpath/cycleway renders him a hazard to anyone within a ten-metre radius.
  • George’s ‘beep’ is a tad louder than Charlie’s which means, “excuse me, please remove yourself from the vicinity if I am coming towards you”. Alternately, if I’m really exhausted and ratty, this may come across as, “get out of the way you silly idiot” (or for silly idiot, read “%$#@/&*£*”)!

So there you have it; the case of Prince George versus Charlie, with Charlie winning outright. However, unfortunately, I’m stuck with arthritic George so I’ll just have to persevere and leave the stilettos at home in future.

RIP Charlie

CHITTY CHITTY CHARLIE!

happy woman in wheelchair

My good friend and fellow blogger, Bun, mentioned that I hadn’t been paying much attention to Charlie recently and wondered if he was ok. Charlie, for those of you who have not yet been introduced, is my electric-powered wheelchair and best friend. I thought I’d let you into the as yet undisclosed fact that I have been beavering away for weeks, secretly bringing Charlie into the 21st century.

The basic model I had in mind will have wing mirrors, kerb-crawling wheels, and a twin-exhaust, turbocharged engine. He needs a few extra parts added too before he is anywhere near complete so I’m going to build in reversing lights and beeps to warn those pedestrians who I appreciate, don’t have eyes in the back of their heads and cannot tell when I’m about to back out unless I holler, “Oy … out the way … wheelchair reversing … warning”, which is a bit long-winded and usually too late when the individual in question’s toes have already been flattened.

stiar climbing wheelchair in bubble

Then, there are the all-essential indicators, (front and rear), which will flash left and right indicating whether I’m about to grab that last loaf of Hovis in the reduced section in Tesco’s (left), or whether I’m going for the special offer on Heinz Spaghetti Hoops in aisle ten, (on my right). Oh! Did I forget to mention the speedometer; essential, of course, when one is traveling at turbo-speed with my go-faster stripes on the side, up the M8 motorway to Glasgow. Obviously, the weather is a little inclement up there and, therefore, an enclosed shatterproof glass bubble complete with wipers will need to be included.

A buggy board would be handy for the children; a slight improvement on the first design which incorporated a pair of roller skates and a piece of string tied to the back. Also, please do give me an air horn to warn the more able citizens of my town that I am at great risk of running them over if they don’t leap out of my way on the cycle path. This will, in future, be marked with a cycle and a wheelchair icon, indicating that yes, I do indeed have wheels instead of legs, therefore I am entitled to travel in the cycle lane.

Naturally, Charlie will be solar powered thereby eliminating any need for electricity, or the exorbitantly priced fuel they charge these days at the gas/petrol stations. There are a couple of improvements left that could be made to make Charlie the real star of the show and a class A1 model. He needs to be able to travel over water so that he can keep up with the twin-engine boats that shoot across the sea when on holiday, (or at least, withstand a sudden rainstorm at Brighton in mid-summer). I thought perhaps a hovercraft skirt would look rather fetching (albeit a little feminine for Charlie).

Finally, I’ve just got to be able to trust my six-wheeled friend to get me all from England to Australia to visit my sister on Christmas Day. I thought some wings, carefully fashioned from  flexible fibreglass and in the model of the late Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (pictured below), would just add that finishing touch.

Voilà!

chitty bang bang lego prototype

 

 

THE ART OF HUGGING

cute monkeys hugging

Hugging – have you seriously thought about hugging? It has multiple benefits, and we should all be doing more of it. If we were, half the wars and battles wouldn’t be taking place, and thank the Lord that no-one has invented an anti-hugging vaccination. Hugs are much more life-preserving and also far more pleasant than coming down with a nasty case of chickenpox or the flu.

Did you know that you need at least one hug a day for reassurance, two a day for survival, four for maintenance and eight for growth? This fact would explain why I am reasonably ‘happy little bunny’ still breathing, in reasonable ‘nick’ but only two-feet-and-eight-inches tall.

If anyone would like to contribute to another few inches of height, I wouldn’t object or turn you away.

Hugging is environmentally friendly and ecologically sound. It builds self-esteem and also builds strong arm and shoulder muscles both of which are far less costly than building another new block of apartments and therefore, is economically viable.

It slows down aging which probably means I’ll feel like I’m ninety-seven before I reach sixty given that I live alone and don’t have a handy partner or nearby children.

However, I do hug the odd friend, (as I tend to prefer my friends to be a little on the peculiar side, like myself rather than conventionally rational).

I have to confess that I have a rather unusual habit in that I have been, on the odd occasion, known to approach and embrace a complete stranger. Hugging in those circumstances is sometimes okay, especially when it is to offer comfort or solace.

However, there are times such as when it’s with the bus driver en route or a waiter with a full tray of tea and scones which are not a wise idea. Also, cuddling up with the airplane pilot of a Jumbo Jet in mid-flight, or offering an embrace with Her Majesty, The Queen in the middle of giving her Christmas speech, etc., it can be seen as somewhat inappropriate.

Hugging also releases the feel-good hormone, oxytocin that is nature’s anti-depressant, so if they were readily available, we would have a lot more warm and happy people about and a lot less diazepam/valium needed.

A first rate hug ideally needs to have two elements, a hugger, and a huggee, preferably willing participants and not someone like ‘The Incredible Hulk’ squeezing the life out of a reluctant Miniature Chihuahua. Likewise, a hug needs to be shared between two beings, or more if near to hand as clutching thin air is no better than attempting to embrace a boa-constrictor.

At this point, I should say that I am offering free demonstrations. In addition, all contributions to myself will be gratefully received as I am saving up for my Blue-Peter badge.

healing hugs

 

THE DOUGHNUT AND SANITY CHALLENGE

Photo Bridget moment Blurt

Well, I’ve pulled myself out from the mire that I’ve been in lately and I’m feeling up to a challenge … nothing major yet but it’s a start (from little acorns mighty oaks do grow) so there’s hope for me yet.

I love writing, especially my blog, all be it a bit sporadic sometimes but reading, I struggle with. It’s not the spelling and grammar side of it as I’d say I’m fair-to-middling compared to most bloggers. In fact, I quite enjoy a tête-à-tête with a bit of vocabulary and an occasional close encounter with the English language.

I’ve borrowed a book from a colleague at university and I’ve got to hand it back within one week. So, in my spare time, which doesn’t amount to much these days, I’ve set myself the challenge of reading and digesting it in this time. No problem … except I have the attention span of a weary ant.

The book in question is a relatively new one called, ‘A Sane New World‘ by Ruby Wax. It’s a brilliant, clever, witty and informative book about her own journey through depression and mental health issues and how she went about improving her situation. Mental health affects 1 in 4 adults, including myself, but this book is written for everyone as anyone of us could become that 1 in 4 ‘mentally unravelled‘, (in Ruby’s words), at any time.

I know most people could knock this out in a couple of days as it consists of a mere 260 pages which I know is nothing compared to Homer’s Iliad or War and Peace but for me, it’s quite a challenge as my concentration when it comes to reading novels leaves an awful lot to be desired. I am determined to fulfil this challenge mainly because I’m interested in finding alternate routes to overcoming mental illness. I’ve made a start have already encountered a good dose of humour and many poignant observances. Hopefully, by the time I’ve got to the end, I will have gained a bit more sanity.

I came across this idea for my second challenge from a local Facebook page. It’s a page for those of us who find life a struggle sometimes, (so, that’s all hands up, is it?). We set ourselves small (or large if we are feeling brave) targets to achieve, to help overcome some of the situations that we find difficult for whatever reason.

My difficult situation? Well, I’m fine going out with Charlie, my wheelchair who some of you might have already met. I can go almost anywhere depending on whether the battery and motor are up to scratch that day but I’m really not good at stopping somewhere to grab a coffee and cake and then sitting with it in a café or coffee shop on my own. I’m great if I’ve got company but sitting alone, I feel a bit of a prune!

So, this challenge is to take my book to a café every day this week; order a coffee and something nice from the menu; sit by myself and then to read as many pages as I can in 30 minutes (just long enough for me to get out of the shop before the usually occurring uncomfortable squirming and panic kicks in).

Today, I had every good intention and headed straight for the coffee shop just after lunch, got to the counter and was just about to order a coffee and pastry when panic suddenly set in and I bolted out of there. I was really cross with myself but I’m going to have another go tomorrow. In the meantime, by way of compensation for my atrocious disappointment, I stopped off at Tesco and bought myself a large jam doughnut, took it home and indulged guiltily. However, I’m determined to repeat the jam doughnut affair tomorrow, only in a coffee shop while reading my book and thereby, at the end of this week, I will have completed both challenges (and probably gained half a stone in weight to boot which I could well do without). Next challenge: to lose that half a stone I’m going to put on this week!

HOW TO SURVIVE A POWER CUT IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

facebook, twitter & pinterest logos

We had a power cut today – only for an hour and a half, but apart from getting cold because the central heating had gone off (bearing in mind it was only 1-degree Celsius outside), I found the greatest inconvenience was not being able to get on the internet. I instantly felt lost and out of touch with the world without it, and given the choice between having my access to the web or having the heating back; I think I would have willingly pulled on an extra layer or two and opted for my laptop.

This incident reminded me of a time, three or so years ago when we experienced a violent storm that brought down the power lines, consequentially blowing up the local electricity substation. Fortunately, the weather wasn’t quite as cold as it was today. But, amazingly, (in this day and age), we had no power for nearly three days! Extra jumpers, thick socks, wooly hats, warm gloves, blankets and such were all dug out of the depths of wardrobes and were the order of the day (or three days in this instance).

I live in a cul-de-sac and all the houses there were affected. After the initial panic, the ritual of striking matches smelling of sulphur, to light the candles took place.  A variety of wax pillars were found with difficulty, bearing in mind, we were searching at the back of dusty cupboards by torchlight. I then thought to Google the Electricity Company’s telephone number to ask when the power would be back on. I won’t say ‘a light went on in my head’ as there weren’t any lights but it then dawned on me that no electricity equals no technology, therefore, no Google. There we were, back in the dark ages (pardon the pun) and I started to rummage for the telephone directory, not realising then that the phone lines were down too.

It was then apparent that social media had come to an abrupt halt which was a shock to the system at first. Gradually Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr all became redundant. If we wanted some company, instead of Facebook, we had to go and knock on a neighbour’s door and talk to them face to face. The term ‘Like’ meant the appreciation of a kindness done or fondness of someone. ‘Friending’ and ‘Unfriending’ became hanging out with our mates (or not). If someone had ‘Blocked’ you, they had, perhaps, parked their car at the bottom of your driveway, and the term ‘Sharing’ no longer referred to reposting an article from one FB page to another; sharing returned to meaning to have a cup of tea with a neighbour; lending your last box of matches out; distributing a pot of tea around the family, made from boiling water on a gas hob (at least, we had gas), .

Twitter had been replaced by the chatter of children and adults alike and gossip that was only heard on the grapevine. Instagram and Pinterest were impossible – if we wanted to look at pictures we had a resort to a book, magazine or get a bus to the art gallery on the far side of town. I missed emailing. Somehow, writing a letter, sticking a stamp on the envelope to post it in the mailbox and then waiting two days for it to arrive at its destination lacked the spontaneity of reeling off a quick email.

Computer games were naturally out of the question and we resorted to either playing Gin Rummy or Bridge with a pack of cards or digging out the old, well-worn Snakes and Ladders board and a dice. In my case, I managed to find the family Ludo board which was my mother’s before it was mine! But, I never was much good at card games but I could play a mean game of Monopoly. Just as I’d passed Mayfair and Park Lane and was about to collect £200 for passing go … the power came back on only to be greeted by a mixture of delighted “hoorays” and equally rather sad “awws”. All the nostalgia flew out of the window almost as fast as we all flew off back to our own little spaces to get a fix of Facebook or Twitter having suffered severe withdrawal symptoms over the past three days. I have to say, it left me wondering whether I would turn back the hands of time if I could.

reading by candlelight