Do you have a good memory? Is it a good short-term memory, a good long-term memory or are you the sort of person who is fortunate in having both? In reality short-term isn’t very long so I suppose I should say medium-term memory. I also suppose I can say along with many others that I major in one but not so much the other. It is my long-term memory which is the better though I do possess a reasonably good short-term memory. The problems I have with my short-term memory are two-fold, on the one hand I often forget things and on the other hand I can remember some things but not when they occurred. During the last couple of years the second aspect has been more noticeable. For instance I would do a job of work for someone and a week or so later would receive a call from them regarding more work. I would ask who was calling of course but after being told I had been there only a week or two earlier I still had to ask where that was and sometimes even what I was doing! I could make excuses for that by saying I had a lot of work and couldn’t always remember but that would be a lie. The truth was I simply couldn’t retain the information. Yes, it was stored in my memory but I was being denied access would be a nice way of putting it. It would be true to a point. If the information wasn’t critical then it was lost. For serious and pertinent information I would remember most of the detail. When it comes to long-term memory I remember events which happened to me and things said to me because they are personal to me. They are my experiences both good and bad and I can remember them in great detail. Nowadays and because of my age I tend to be a little absent-minded which is something quite different. I find I am doing silly things, because of a lack of concentration I suppose. Putting sugar in E’s cup when I have already done it in preparing a coffee and then attempting putting the sugar in the fridge before realising it goes in the cupboard is one example. These are minor in the great scheme of things, as long as it doesn’t get worse. I could put them down to simple absent-mindedness due to age but there are people who for them being absent-minded is normal. I remember, it must have been twenty-five or more years ago, I was sitting near the front seats in an auditorium in my then workplace. We were there for instruction regarding a new working practice the company were introducing. Just prior to the speaker addressing the audience one of my colleagues, a young man, came rushing in and sat down in the front row of seats. The room was quiet for a minute as we listened to what was said to him. It wasn’t the speaker, oh no, as he sat there someone tapped him on the shoulder and said, ‘Mick, you’re sitting on my knee’! He had sat on someone’s knee and hadn’t realised it! I call that being absent-minded and indeed the young man did fit the bill. I can even remember the look on his face as we all began to laugh, even the speaker couldn’t contain himself but that was Mick.
They say that as you get older you look back to the past more often. We all have them of course, memories, but they are often neglected whilst we are giving our attention to the more pressing issues of the day. It is when we find ourselves at rest or having nothing much to do that we begin to recollect memories. This is probably why older folk in particular recall memories more often, they have more time on their hands. I have found in my own life that this is true and the more so now as I am breaking the ties of formal work as an electrician. I am slowly getting used to it though a better phrase might be making adjustments. The adjustments I am making is finding things to occupy my time, walking, gardening, little projects, dining out, playing around on my guitar and other things all help me to do that. It was while out walking a few days ago that I passed two girls selling fairy cakes at the gate leading to their house. They were around fifteen or sixteen years of age and evidently had baked the cakes themselves, selling them in aid of a local charity. Unfortunately I had no money with me as I invariably don’t carry cash when simply going out for a walk. I most probably would have given them my support had I been carrying some money, not least of all because the cakes looked so delicious! It reminded me of my past when I was young and the things I used to get up to raise some pocket-money, though we, my siblings and I, were given pocket money by our parents.
It also reminded me that I have more time now in which to bake more cakes of my own, especially when the weather restricts other activities. The weather has never prevented me from going for a run or nowadays going for a walk but it does prevent me doing much in the gardens or getting on with a project of which I have a couple pending at this time. One of those projects is to erect a gate at one side of the house in the rear garden but I have to build a brick pillar first of all. I will then be able to construct the gate itself from timber I have stored. It has to be bespoke because it will be wider than the average size that could be purchased. Anyway making my own will give me something to do and be far less expensive in the process. So unrelated events and incidences help to trigger my thoughts and memories and also remind me that I’ve things to do.
The first yesterday was of course yesterday. It was also my eldest son’s birthday.He reached the ripe old age of 33 and it only seems like yesterday that I held him in my arms for the first time. I couldn’t do that now! Sometimes I look back and wonder where all the intervening years went. It was only a little over two and a half years later his younger brother arrived on the scene. He will be 31 years old next March. I was out in the garden on Sunday afternoon just looking at things and how much just the garden has changed since we moved here in the summer of 1988. I remember the boys learning how to ride a bicycle on and around what then passed as a lawn and my father-in-law bemoaning the fact that they were cutting a pathway through the grass with the bikes. At that time more of the family lived with us in the house but now there are but two of us living here. The house holds all sorts of memories, some good and some bad but mostly good. What started me thinking about the past was when I was watering the plants. It hadn’t rained for a day or so and some of the newly planted ones were beginning to suffer. These are the shrubs I planted in the mound and their roots have yet to grow down to where most of the water will be most of the time. The top soil dries out too quickly during the warmer weather. I began as I usually do when watering the garden, to water the plants at the opposite end of the garden to where the patio is and some of the plants there seem to have grown very little over the years even though they are perfectly healthy. They are naturally slow-growing but some have noticeably grown over the years and have needed pruning back. A few weeks ago I had to cut back some of those plants which had begun to grow over the path around the lawn making it difficult to walk along without having to swerve to avoid them. In the same border there is a variegated holly tree one of two in fact. The other one is intermingled with other trees and has not grown to any great height because of that but I plan to do some pruning in the area to get rid of unwanted side-shoots and such like. The holly I mention that has grown well started life as a very small plant back in the days when the boys lived here but is now over three metres in height. If you click on the above picture a couple of times you should be able to see this holly, it is the last tree on the left of those in the centre of the shot. Immediately to its left you can see the washing line post against the wall. It is difficult to see the holly as when the photo was taken a few years ago it hadn’t filled out. It isn’t the largest holly as there is one which stands next to the large greenhouse which is well over five metres and is shown in the top picture. It is a different variety of holly, dark green leaves and red berries. Where it stands the ground used to be a kind of garden waste dump but it has changed dramatically since those days. Many things have changed over the years and much work has been done but there is always scope for more. Yesterdays are full of reminders of things past and how I got to where I am and they are all inside my head, I don’t need heaps of photographs to remind me, though I have some, no, the greatest thing is to be able to sit there and look at how things have changed and all for the better. Yesterdays have gone and will never return, tomorrows are what counts.