My Grandmother, and Kryptonite

I am the grand daughter of a truly amazing woman. A woman with an incredible super power.

My grandmother was born in Manchester, North West England, and lived a humdrum life until she was about seven years old, when she contracted tuberculosis, which led to the amputation of her knee cap. In the days before the National Health Service, she spent the most of her subsequent childhood in some sort of sanitorium several hours away from home, with little contact with the outside world, including her parents. Then came the war. In her telling, she learnt to dance, and then she married my grandfather.

Despite her “gammy leg” as she called it, she and my grandfather led a charmed life.  They had two children, and lived in various countries including (to name a few) Libya, Sudan, Kenya, Kuala Lumpur, Kenya, India, Iraq, and Barbados.  Eventually they retired to North Yorkshire, and lived a contented life surrounded by friends and families.  They threw many a great party, and their “curry lunches” were legendary.

Her super power? The unshakeable belief in two little words …

I

Can.

Now well into her nineties, she is a little bewildered, but living happily in a care home in Yorkshire, where her naughty sense of humour, kindness and all round Joie de Vivre make her adored by everyone. All was going extremely well in the care home until last autumn, when she was involved in a “three lady pile up” and broke her gammy leg. She was hospitalised, and her leg was encased in a plaster cast. This cast turned out to be my grandmother’s Kryptonite, although we didn’t realise it until much, much later. We actually thought that we were going to lose her. Just in time for her ninety-sixth birthday, the cast was removed, and slowly but surely, her super power returned. Once again she is holding court, the battiest, bravest woman on the planet.

I like to think that I have inherited my grandmother’s can do attitude to life.

However, we’ve lately had a bit of a reality check at The Olive Hill, included, but not limited to the following:

  1. It’s been raining A LOT. Outside (obviously), but also inside, particularly in the bathroom, where the rain has been pouring in. The photo shows day one of the leak, the ceiling is now soaked through.
  2. We haven’t yet found a builder for the renovations. The first was too expensive, the second was too incomprehensible, and the third (so far) has been too, um, uncontactable.
  3. As well as leaking water, the house leaks icy cold air. Most days, poor Scott spends several hours bringing wood into the house for the fire, and the blooming boiler.
  4. The tractor broke down. Again.
  5. The trees need pruning. Again.
  6. We keep being invaded by our neighbour’s pigs.

img_20190203_134635881

7.  My commuting in and out of Rome has been subject to so many delays. I’m on a train now that is only running eight minutes late, but my record for the year (and it’s the first week of February) is over two hours.

8.  Our to do list just keeps getting longer and longer.

And this has all led me to the discovery of my own Kryptonite. And mine is not a plaster cast, mine is a “word” that I was NEVER allowed to use in my younger days:

C

A

N

T

Thirty years ago, I was lucky enough to meet a young man with the same can do super power as my grandmother. We will never have the adventures that she did, but we’ve had more than our fair share, and now is no time to become can’t doers instead of can doers.

So.

  1. Time to mend the roof (especially as the sun is shining again).
  2. Time to sort ourselves out with a builder.
  3. Time to get a new boiler (see note two)
  4. We’ve already got the tractor fixed (maybe time to look for a new tractor?)
  5. We’ve started pruning.
  6. We called the neighbours.  They fixed the pig fence, and brought us round a huge bag of wild boar meat by way of an apology (time to make a casserole).
  7. Time to investigate on line English teaching instead of face to face lessons.
  8. Time to point out to myself that I’ve just knocked several items off the to do list.

I realised I was suffering from Kryptonite poisoning yesterday, when I almost cancelled a much anticipated day out with friends because the car needed servicing.

So enough. I would like to publicly apologise to my grandmother, and tell her that I promise to sort myself out. And now I’m going to run to the bus stop, because the train is pulling into the station.

I can

I can

I can.

And so can you.

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