Hangover Distractions

barbara hepworth 3If the post homage pain is proportionate to the subject of the homage then today is testament to admiration ney love of epic proportions for Barbara Hepworth! Adoration so utterly passionate that the Spinster simple has no choice but to adopt a prone position surrendering until the powerful electricity passes; as surely it will? Please? A day or two at most would be bearable; at present one has drugs in sufficient quantities to manage this obsession that has descended shroud like as it has enveloped me totally.

barbara hepworthSuch suffocation I have never experienced in the reality of my, albeit limited, personal encounters of an intimate nature; the oxygen has been siphoned from my already infected lungs. But communing in Ms Hepworth’s garden, in the spaces where she created, amongst the objects and not forgetting meeting the perfectly granite coloured cat makes it all worthwhile! Kitty 1I will write under separate cover about our weekend in St Ives where Ms Hepworth lived and died.

Curiously this trip was the third such sojourn with a girlfriend to seek out the stamping ground of women whose work has had a significant influence on my live; in some way each has contributed to shaping the Spinster’s world view. First was Sylvia Plath’s grave followed by Vita Sackville-West’s white garden at Sissinghurst along with a range of other National Trust properties. Looking back I wish I had worn the cape to complete the Spinsterial ensemble as my companion and I thoroughly exploited our National Trust membership seeing 5 or was it 6 properties in 3 days; an achievement that always makes me smile.

barbara hepworth 6Pain is, in my experience chronically disabling at times; the day (s) after an active day or weekend can be frustratingly unproductive time. In fact it’s like a hangover; the student weekends where a ‘session’ was part of Saturday night and Sunday spent doing very little on account of feeling like death warmed up. I haven’t drunk alcohol for 7 or so years; the day of my diagnosis (and the weeks that followed) I drunk a lot, consistently and then I stopped. The ever-present chronic pain that like Radio 4 is the backdrop to daily life began; the drugs were prescribed and my life as a legal drug addict began. Alcohol interferes with the pain meds so I stopped drinking; it wasn’t a choice, not really, rather it was pragmatically the right thing to do.

barbara hepworth 2Oh deary that sounds rather depressing which I suppose it could be but it’s just a fact of my life and I’m not alone. Another tick in the box of ‘yer not special lady!’ What is depressingly irritating is how pain addles your brain; making decisions is out of the question or if you do you can’t be confident that you’ve applied sufficient judgement. And I am more easily distracted and so everything takes SO much longer! Let me share today with you – don’t you dare feel sorry for me because that simply won’t help either of us now will it!

Last night was a bad night which isn’t unusual but when the alarm went off at 7 I felt bizarrely awake; for about 10 minutes by which time I’d been downstairs and made a cafetière of coffee to accompany my morning ritual of downloading the Guardian onto my kindle before browsing the headlines, reading a few select articles with every intention of coming back to it later in the day which I seldom do of course!

barbara hepworth 5After the newspaper I shower, dress, dry my hair and attend to the other elements of preparing for the day. Anything involving a decision for example making a choice of what to wear: clothes, shoes, accessories takes an extraordinary amount of time not just because I’m indecisive but because today I have additional things to factor in. The pain limits the clothes I can wear as the weight of the fabric, the closeness of the fit etc. exacerbates the discomfort. It’s a compromise as if I intend going out I need to ensure I’m warm enough; facing the elements necessitates tights under trousers even if the close-fitting hosiery hurts! If everything were loose one would resemble a Michelin man with cellulite rippling in full view.

HEPWORTH  Barbara, 1966, sculpteur (GB)© ERLING MANDELMANN ©Distractions during dressing include the need to go downstairs to retrieve pain medication and so as not to waste the trip I collect washing on the way (of course in such quantities that I can’t actually carry it! Resorting to throwing it of course it lands in a dangerous heap at the foot of the stairs which I have to navigate without actually embracing it face on; slowly does it as always! In the kitchen I realise there is already washing both in the machine and on the floor; great – a reliable memory would be SO helpful! Seeing my phone I think I’d better check my emails in case a colleague has responded confirming a meeting that could be today; by now it’s after 9 am in which case I could be buggered already!

It takes until 1115 to finish getting ready which means it’s midday before eating breakfast! Further distractions:

Petal Dust 2Floral arrangements: the Alstomeria’s are standing in a snow of petals; a light dusting – should I throw them away? I don’t even though every time I touch them more petals fall off!





Tulips 3The tulips – they aren’t quite dead; looking at them from different angles I conclude they are interesting the way they’ve bent over!




Age Concern 3The post arrives along with a collection bag from Age Concern; the Charity bag amuses me in terms of the way the information is presented especially the phrase It’s not just giving, it’s recycling’ next to products and services you can trust including funeral plans!

Granta 1And the next issue of Granta arrives ironically all about Betrayal when I haven’t even opened the last one! It’s happening again – I’m not keeping up with it!



Hail Stones 2And finally the hailstones from last night on the back door mat by the dustbin; they look so beautiful! And yes I should get out more and I will once this Barbara Hepworth hangover passes…




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