Is pregnancy brain contagious? Assuming it actually is a medically diagnosable condition of course. The plasticity of brain tissue – or do I mean elasticity – is surely what enables us to multitask and frankly remember so much minutia we file away for future use knowing the task is utterly futile! Out of sight out of mind comes to well my mind as I write this; it’s beginning to resemble my use of Dropbox let’s just say what seemed to be a cunning plan has completely foxed me in practical terms! If one invites additional people to use dropbox one gets additional storage space; fabulous at a time when the shared files for Women in Pregnancy become stuffed to the gunnels with the result none of us can use the project or our own files. Hmm I think I have 3 (or 4 if you include the one I can’t remember the password for) email accounts. Why not invite myself to join? A nugget of an idea on the face of it but in practice you end up with 3 additional dropboxes which I don’t seem to be able to bring together. Answers on a postcard; on second thoughts don’t bother I’ll put it down to experience!

Times like this I used to put down to cognitive overload i.e. too much on my mind/plate/desk etc. But no I have to accept my memory just ain’t what it used to be! I could excuse myself on account of memory problems being a symptom of my ‘condition’ but that feels lazy somehow and I’m not nearly ready to attend the memory clinic – (excellent as they are)- designed for people with dementia. In light of the last year I have decided a new approach is required. Forthwith the Contemporary Spinster will plan as if this year were my last, on the basis that my physical abilities (and apparently my cognitive ones too) are not something I can rely on. It’s all rather a moveable feast so the conclusion is to get on with whatever it is I’m going to get on with! OK the ‘what’ has yet to be decided of course so I’m not entirely sure how this new approach will help but I’m confident it will if I persist with it!

So it’s time for a mental inventory and perhaps a physical one too. There is nothing more simultaneously depressing and invigorating as cleaning out ones cupboards. So much scope for discovering those lost items with the risk that once the wrapping is peeled back and the contents laid bare you feel ‘sick to the stomach’ whilst silently mouthing ‘oh f**k thats where that went’! Hopefully these moments will be offset with finding long lost acquaintances are still living at that old address or rediscovering the long lost photograph of your late granny. The main challenge will be familiarising myself with e Bay in the attempt to monetarise a range of items no longer required; in particular the 8 or 9 pairs of glasses with lenses that are no longer strong enough. This relates to someone once telling me they’d bought designer frames on eBay and put their own lenses in them; is this apocryphal tale? Worth a punt me thinks!

More tricky is the review of friends and acquaintances, the ones ladies magazines advise one to do periodically to rid oneself of toxic influences that drip poison and self doubt into a gal. It feels vaguely unpleasant as an adult, as a semi-paranoid teenager it makes sense, but as an fully formed adult surely one shouldn’t find oneself thus encumbered? Might just pop that to the end of the forward plan until the time seems right i.e. when someone who fits into this category makes contact with me. Cowardly or pragmatic? On the other hand if one did only have one year to live presumably one would want to spent time with those to quote ??Advice Particular ‘love and adore you’? See there’s the pregnancy brain thing again; can’t for the life of me remember the author’s name! And I don’t want to be accused of plagiarism when it’s just a poor memory so if you’re lucky I might remember to search for either the snake skin notebook the quotation is written in or search the wonder web for an answer; probably best assume you’ll have to do this one yourself! Oh no the day is saved as I proof read Sarah Bernhardt’s name popped into my head!

Of course there is the temptation to avoid doing the things you don’t like doing as in some cases you wouldn’t be around to see the results else it could be an excuse for not being bothered but that would be shoddy, wouldn’t it? Why is the garden coming into my mental view, I love gardening but given a choice I would probably dig out the privet hedge simply to avoid having to prune the bugger. But whilst my father is fit and healthy enough to come to Barry with reasonably regularity it would be churlish to deprive him of hedge clipping which gives him a real sense of paternal warmth. So the hedge stays! On the other hand there are the roses that excel at blackspot, mildew and a range of other ailments. The climbing white Iceberg rose is scented and prolific as long as one doesn’t mind the pink spots on the petals as a consequence of the blackspot ironically! It’s the standard roses Dad sent me from a Telegraph readers offer, you know the ones where you only have to pay postage, that are potentially problematic. Basically they are brashy and blousey without a sophisticated subtle gene in their DNA! Will give further consideration when am next in the garden shears in hand and see who comes off better.

Catching up with good friends has already begun with two weekends away in Edinburgh and Todmorden; good progress for which I give myself a hearty pat on the back! And it gets better I am planning a further trip with a lovely friend to visit the houses of Vita Sackville-West; both Sissinghurst and Knowle will be visited by the end of June. An annual subscription to the National Trust may be called for as entrance – even with concessions (me disabled and friend retired) – is not exactly cheap. I will be interested in the transformation of Tredegar House (Newport) and Dyffryn Gardens (Vale of Glamorgan) as both have been taken over by the National Trust; apparently there is a definite entrepreneurial emphasis which is not exactly a good fit with the previous local authority management.  Is this surprising I wonder given that to preserve ancient relics for the future visitor one is bound to deeply mine the pockets of the visitor today?

And finally holidays and visits to new countries; I confess this is slightly less attractive given my increased ‘mobility difficulties’. Since the attack/flare up in October my balance is shocking and two crutches a permanent fixture. Of course thousands of people travel regularly whilst being confined to a wheelchair but this mental adjustment requires work (and time). Putting that on one side for the moment where would you go in your last year? Africa remains at the top of my list; it’s like no other continent in ways I find difficult to articulate. Perhaps I should pop over to Malawi and have a woman to woman chat with President Joyce Banda. You know reassure her that not all white women want to adopt black children or come with promises that never get fulfilled; unforgivable behaviour in my book.  Reports on President Banda’s achievement thus far as most promising; the future of Africa will, I would venture, be female.

But first things first there is the Salon for Dilys eightieth birthday to get on with!


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