Newsletter no.154, July 15th 2020

I don’t usually have a problem remembering to take my pills. I don’t take many and it’s either done at breakfast or when I go to bed. But when I was advised to add Vitamin D tablets to my usual routine, there was a problem. The one-a-day lot was out of stock, and so I was given some stronger ones to take every other day. Fair enough. I decided that I would take them on the uneven days in the calendar. That way, I could hardly go wrong, could I? First, third, fifth, and so on.

I can hear you laughing from here. Yes. When it came to the end of the month, I was out of step. I couldn’t remember whether I should switch to even dates, or stay the same. No, I don’t have one of those clever boxes which you fill up once a week and they tell you what you take and when. So I ground my teeth a bit – not a habit my dentist likes me to develop – and considered the problem. It took me a while to work out what I could do, which was to put a ‘D’ with a red marker pen against every other day on the calendar. Now, if I can’t remember offhand whether it’s an ‘on’ or ‘off’ day I consult the calendar and follow what it says. I also write down whether it’s this Thursday for rubbish collection or for recycling. One of my neighbours often rings to ask which it is, so I’m not the only one who gets confused about dates.

I had to consult my filing system to discover which short story should be included in this newsletter. Again, we’re out of kilter with regard to the timing. The next in the series was set in Lent looking forward to Easter and featured the eternal question, ‘What do we tell the children about God?’ Is it best to leave it so that they can make up their own minds what to believe when they’re older? What sort of example do we set within the family? There are many answers to those questions. Our friends find one solution to the question almost by accident. Is their solution the best? Anyway, if you would like to read the story, here is the link to it. And if you’re desperate for something to read, you might like to have a look at some of the other short stories about my retired friends, which I put out as an ebook many years ago under the title of Unsung Heroes.

Libraries. I have emails from America, Australia and Tasmania telling me that their libraries have mostly reopened using some kind of Click and Collect system. There are variations on the theme with some requiring more sanitisation than others, but in the main readers are able to borrow books once more. The UK government has given the go-ahead for libraries here to re-open with care, and some have. I’m told that in Leeds, for instance, half the libraries are now functioning in limited fashion. Unfortunately – and here I have to refrain from screaming my disbelief – no libraries are open in Ealing, London. None. What’s more, our local library is being handed over to local management control and goodness only knows when we will have access to books again. Hence my putting my old books out for passers-by to grab and take home. However, our local bookshop has saved my sanity by reopening – with due care and attention to our health – and friends pass books around among ourselves.

A blessing on all who keep libraries open!

Veronica Heley