Loading
In transition
After spending more than a year crawling around the house, holding onto furniture and doors, shopping online and endlessly reading about Brexit, I decided it was madness to be wearing hill-walking gear and began to buy ankle length skirts instead. I went for black because I love black and I felt gloomy and saw myself as one of those old Greek or Russian peasant women hobbling around on a stick. Granted I was using bright pink elbow crutches with red mules and hadn't got round to a headscarf but you get the picture. I've always seen clothes as a bit of fancy dress and spent the 1970's in flares, long dresses and straw hats wreathed in flowers. So here I was comfort buying and trying on different versions of me now I mostly lay on the sofa with my ipad.
Last November I had a hip replacement and for six weeks became a different person because the hospital told me to. I wore joggers and slippers that hadn't seen the light of day since I'd had my ropey knee replacement seven years earlier. I appliqued fish on them to cover up a hole in the toe and they were greatly admired. But none of that was me.
Three months later at eighty I'm still working on who I am. The red mules are a fixture. I've even bought a pair of red winter boots. Classy but waterproof. My previous boots were hill walking ones. A rather posh quilted coat has been added to all my Gortex. It won't do for standing around with a tripod waiting for the light to change while getting rained on by passing showers though.
I haven't been up a hill for nine years but my wardrobe and I transferred perfectly to photography. Then photography got limited to the garden and eventually not even that. Now things are changing again. So who am I going to be ?
My new hip is wonderful. Totally pain free. But there's the knee. It's better but still pretty painful. I do exercises. I walk every day. At present by the time I go to bed I've covered half a kilometre which is much further than when I started. And the distance is going up a few steps every couple of days. It's hard to tell what the pain is doing but it's not getting worse. The pink crutch has gone and a red stick has been added to my wardrobe. Light, elegant and I probably don't need it. But I couldn't resist. Yesterday I walked up and down Falkland High Street without it. My consultant thinks my knee may eventually be pain free but that's a dream at the moment.
In June I'm going to Northumberland to photograph. I'll be taking babushka skirts and hill-walking trousers. Red mules and Merril walking shoes. My posh coat will be left behind but I have a black Paramo waterproof fleece which looks like velvet and is classy in its own way. And my red stick will come too mainly because I love it . But I hope to go up a hill. A very small one where there's rather a nice stone circle. My stick, elegant as it is, may very well come in handy if I do.

10 comments

Heidiho said:

.... das ist so traurig - und lustig zugleich !
Hier gibt es einen Spruch: Altwerden ist nichts für Feiglinge.

In diesem Sinne: herzliche Grüße und beste Wünsche für die Zukunft aus Berlin, Jean !
Besteige noch viele Hügel. Auch wenn sie klein sind - von oben sieht die Welt interessanter aus. Und: hüpf mit Deinen roten Regenstiefeln durch Pfützen !!! Viel Spaß dabei !!!
3 years ago ( translate )

Jean replied to Heidiho:

Thanks for a lovely comment. I like the saying about becoming old not being for cowards. We don’t have it in Scotland but I’ll be doing my best to introduce it.
3 years ago

HappySnapper said:

I do like this article Jean, you have put up with a lot of pain and discomfort, hibernated indoors throughout the winter and yet sound so positive and upbeat for the days ahead. I am a health worrier who bores most people with ailments mostly common or imagined. Sometimes it needs people such as yourself to make someone like me realise how fortunate I am to go through most days pain free. Thank you Jean and may your recovery carry on and improve as each day passes.
3 years ago

Jean replied to HappySnapper:

Don't feel bad because there are people worse off than you. No matter what the situation there is always someone worse off. I feel for them but I also feel it's OK to worry and grumble about one's own ailments. It lets off steam. I've had many a good lunch with friends where we've all mumped and grumped and then had a good laugh at what a bunch of crocks we are.
3 years ago

Valfal said:

On several levels I can identify with you, especially the way you talked about adjusting to different “versions” of yourself during the aging process. I hope that this year is the one you can return to activities that you love, and be pain free when you do them. I am very happy to hear that your hip has healed completely, now for the knee. Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us, Jean. Your writing is most engaging!
3 years ago

Jean said:

Thank you for your very kind comment. I was very lucky to have a body that was problem free until into my seventies. Here's hoping it reverts to type in my eighties.
3 years ago

Dinesh said:

Best wishes
3 years ago ( translate )

Tanja - Loughcrew said:

Jean...Du bist klasse:) ich wünsche Dir alles Gute...Deine Energie und Dein Humor sind großartig und bezaubernd...hugs...Tanja
3 years ago ( translate )

Jean replied to Tanja - Loughcrew:

Thank you Tanja for a very cheering comment.
3 years ago

Rosalyn Hilborne said:

What a lovely story Jean. I like the sound of your posh fleece! I hope you will soon be pain free and make it up to the stone circle. I look forward to the photos!
All the best, Rosa.
3 years ago