Diary (4) -Would please still help The Little Family? Thanks to you, we are half way (or so I hope) – Continued

After a week, an answer came from the finance administrator. It is a weird answer, embarrassed, attempting to scold me for a lack of care or a wrongly dispensed care, and at the same time relenting on most points.

First of all, a telephone must be put back, so that talks may be conducted by ringing up.

My answer is that verba volant, scripta manent. It will be nice and convenient to have a telephone at home but no conversation that might lead to litigation or even misunderstandings should be held verbally.

The car with the broken exhaust pipe should not be repaired with Anne-Fleur’s money as it does not belong to her. But given the particular circumstances, with the agreement of the Court, if the agreement is given, then the car might be mended.

My answer is that Anne-Fleur will never own a car and that she will never drive. Nonetheless, she needs a car to be driven to the “socialising” functions upon which the French bureaucracy is so keen. There also needs to be a car at home in case of emergency, or to go shopping outside the hours of the “socialising/shopping lady.” A car is useful. And, of course, it is I, and not Anne-Fleur, who shall drive it. Being without allowance myself, it seems pure common sense to use her money to repair it.

The hours with the shopping lady are not for cleaning the house. The shopping lady is someone who should help Anne-Fleur to wash every morning, (and evening?), to dress, to help her eat, to take her to the pictures, for walks, for shopping for her own food and clothes and needs, etc. She is to deal with all things intimate.

My answer is that Anne-Fleur is able to wash, to dress, to eat, and do intimate things by herself or with my help – we belong to the same family and we are close; that we are not each shopping for our respective food alone as we are a family; and that with due respect to the “socialising lady,” I am intellectually more apt to know what film Anne-Fleur may or may not see, to explain things and generally to educate and instruct her. Moreover, what is to be said of a system that PAYS A SALARY to someone to go to the pictures or the library with the disabled person, meanwhile I / the carer is unpaid to care for all other needs? Where are the State finances going? Is this a rational economic decision?

It was decided in 2014 by the Board, and the MD who examined her, that Anne-Fleur needed no one to cook her meals, clean the house and keep the garden in good shape (clean).

My answer is that Anne-Fleur is absolutely not able to do all these things, and that I must do the cooking and help in the cleaning, but not assume all the cleaning of the whole house.

It will take months to allow someone to do the house cleaning. Therefore, exceptionally, money will be allowed to do, (at last), the great spring cleaning, (summer or autumn cleaning).

As to the garden, there will be money allowed ONCE to clean it, but nothing afterwards.

My answer is that a garden grows. Grass grows. Trees grow. Shrubs grow. A gardener came unofficially a month and a half ago and we cannot not see any more where he stopped cutting the grass. As the garden is wide, it will need more than two hours to put it to rights. And in a month, the grass will have grown again. What are we to do then?

So, here we are.

Paradoxes of the French administration and bureaucracy exposed. Fortunately, all this is written. I shall transmit it to my legal advisor. And I shall be able to show it to the local Agency which provides the effective services. There is a direct correspondence between the finance administrator and the Head of the Agency, and I have seen several times that the requests made by the finance administrator are not the same as those she tells me she will make. Then there is the interpretation by the Head of the Agency that is again different. Verba volant, scripta manent.

We have come almost half the way in a week, thanks to you. Now, I shall state the situation in all its absurdity to the minister of health and the minister for disabled people who are both responsible for Anne-Fleur’s wellbeing. I shall also ask why carers like me have no status and no payment for the job they do all year round.

We still need your help, please, to show that people care; that I am not a lunatic asking for impossible things but, on the contrary, using common sense and resources as best as I can.

Please, show you care. Please, help us: click and comment, show that you are with us. Please.

Poetry is honey for the soul (11) – ML Kappa

Poetry is honey for the soul

Marina gives us regularly news from Greece in her blog:

https://athensletters.com/

I follow it with the utmost assiduity: politics, economy, society, refugees, literature, Ancient Greece, Grecian Islands, myths, history, traditions -her blog is always full of information. Its full name is “Letters from Athens – A blog about life and times in Greece”.

Today, she invites us to read or re-read a poem by Constantin Cavafy, which sounds oddly relevant to our times.

unnamed (2)

C.P. Cavafy is widely considered the most distinguished Greek poet of the twentieth century. He was born in 1863 in Alexandria, Egypt, where his Greek parents had settled in the mid-1850s.

During his lifetime Cavafy was an obscure poet, living in relative seclusion and publishing little of his work. A short collection of his poetry was privately printed in the early 1900s and reprinted with new verse a few years later, but that was the extent of his published poetry. Instead, Cavafy chose to circulate his verse among friends.

Cavafy was an avid student of history, particularly ancient civilizations, and in a great number of poems he subjectively rendered life during the Greek and Roman empires.

Among his most acclaimed poems is “Waiting for the Barbarians,” in which leaders in ancient Greece prepare to yield their land to barbarians only to discover that the barbarians, so necessary to political and social change, no longer exist.

Greek-Persian_duel
Greek and Persian warriors in a duel

 

WAITING FOR THE BARBARIANS

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

 

The barbarians are due here today.

 

Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?

Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

 

Because the barbarians are coming today.

What laws can the senators make now?

Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

 

Why did our emperor get up so early,

and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate

on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

 

Because the barbarians are coming today

and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.

He has even prepared a scroll to give him,

replete with titles, with imposing names.

 

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today

wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?

Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,

and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?

Why are they carrying elegant canes

beautifully worked in silver and gold?

 

Because the barbarians are coming today

and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

 

Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual

to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

 

Because the barbarians are coming today

and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

 

Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?

(How serious people’s faces have become.)

Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,

everyone going home so lost in thought?

 

Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.

And some who have just returned from the border say

there are no barbarians any longer.

 

And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?

They were, those people, a kind of solution.

 

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)

unnamed (1)
A sample of C. Cavafy’s handwriting
unnamed
A street of Alexandria  where C. Cavafy was born

Poetry is honey for the soul (10) – Alison Hope

Poetry is honey for the soul

Ali stood at an uncomfortable place last week: 

her poem was published on this blog just before my appeal to help for The Little Family. 

This was awkward and she might not have received the whole attention she deserved. 

Therefore, I post it again.

Ali is a well-known blogger, “specialised” in book reviews. She has her own blog and writes daily about a new book (better than I do and makes me feel lazy…). Here is the address:

https://heavenali.wordpress.com/

for the few of you who would not know her yet. She is connected with books: buying books, lending books, reading groups, reviewing books, participating in book groups, in book events, creating them sometimes. I cannot imagine her without a book near at hand! Which is certainly exaggerated as she loves flowers and many other things.

When I asked her if she wanted to contribute, she asked for some days of thought, then sent me the following poem, comment and illustrations. I was surprised to see “Stopping by woods on a snowy evening” by Robert Frost that Phillip had already chosen. For the foreigner that I am it seems one of these poems that haunt you all your life long – and I begin to fall under its spell myself.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village, though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer  

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake. 

The only other sounds the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep, 

And miles to go before I sleep.

 

There were lots of poems I could (nearly did) choose for this, many deeper, seemingly more complex pieces than this. Yet I kept coming back to this poem, one I first heard probably as a child. I love the deceptive simplicity of the poem, yet the images it evokes remain, and tell a story – albeit a simple one. The reader is left wondering about where the traveller might be going – what are those promises – and to whom were they made?

The poem reminds me -always of my dad – he died eight years ago. I can remember him quoting – on several occasions, though what those occasions were I can’t recall – that final haunting stanza – so it is a poem I always associate with him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would you, please, help The Little Family? – continued

 

demander-de-laide

First and foremost, I want to thank you. To thank you all and each of you who have taken time to read my last long post. To thank you who have shown that you cared by clicking on the “like” key. To thank you who have written a comment, an encouragement, a sign of indignation, ideas to help.

You may not imagine how much of a comfort these signs of support may be. The sudden feeling that what we live is really not normal; that, yes, things ought to be done to change the situation; that these inertia and negativity are not to be borne without a word; that we have a right to live normally; and that what we ask is not extraordinary but the facts and deeds of any life.

Thank you.

Since my cry for help, two days ago, I have received news from a French non governmental organisation that I had contacted. It is called l’Office chrétien des persones handicapées (OCH – Christian Office for Handicapped Persons) and is situated in Paris. You don’t have to be a Christian to appeal to it, although we are Roman Catholics. This Organisation listens to people who have problems either because they are handicapped or because they are family or friends or relatives of handicapped people. It has a legal counseling small department as well: I have been given the name and email address of a legal advisor upon whom I have called today.

Being Roman Catholic, I also emailed the services in charge of the care of “the ill and disabled/handicapped” of our local bishopric in Périgueux. They may show spiritual concern but also material help, indicating local charities. These might help in turn in giving alms to do the great spring/summer cleaning of the house and the cutting of the grass. Thank you for pointing to me the resource of charities of which I had not thought.

I have emailed Anne-Fleur’s financial administrator for the nth time, stating our needs once more, as I have stated them to you. I have received the receipt that says that the email has been opened but this is automatic: I have no answer, even an acknowledgement of the email.

The Head of the local Agency that provides the “Socialising/ Shopping/Cleaning Lady” and should be providing the team of cleaning ladies and the gardener is on holidays for the week. If she were to give an answer, that would not be before next week.

Things cannot evolve with lightening speed. But they have moved in two days – largely thanks to you. I was disheartened when I wrote the last post: I feel better today and when I feel better, The Girls feel happier.

We still need you, your presence, your ideas, your support, your suggestions, and your reassurance.

Please, do not leave us now: we are at the beginning of the road towards normality. Please, still comment; at least, click on “like” to show you have read. And if you are kind enough, share on social media.

The Little Family thanks you.

Would you, please, give some help to The Little Family only by reading this?

This is a long entry with no illustration. Please, bear with it and read it till the end. It is important for Anne-Fleur, for me, for us. This is taken from my blog: 

https://lightsandshadesblog.wordpress.com/

No poppy today although this entry is once again related to the garden. Somewhat. Well. I shall try to make the issues clear, including the garden. If you understand, then, there is a chance the French administration may understand as well. And so, I shall use this entry as a basis for my correspondence with said administration.

Until her sixteenth year, Anne-Fleur was a minor dependent of her parents. When she was twelve, her father died and her mother received the full parental powers over her until her majority. Therefore, when she turned sixteen, Anne-Fleur was declared “incapable majeure” (incapable adult) and placed under the guardianship of the State. But the guardianship was delegated to her mother who remained de facto et de jure her guardian. She had all powers and duties of a parent plus one: all financial matter concerning Anne-Fleur should be endorsed by the Court in Périgueux.

Anne-Fleur was declared incapable adult after psychiatric and medical evaluation. One knows that Down Syndrome is having a third chromosome added to the twenty-first pair and that this chromosome never disappears. Anyway, the French laws, rules, and regulations ask that this evaluation, medical and psychiatric, to determine that one person is still suffering from Down Syndrome, happen regularly every seven years. Don’t ask me why. Anne-Fleur was born with Down Syndrome. She lives with Down Syndrome. She will die with Down Syndrome. But she must pass through the evaluation every seven years.

Each time she has been declared or confirmed incapable adult, she must go through another commission that is at the level of the State and the département. This board and another medical doctor determine the degree of her incapacity. The more she is incapable and the less she has revenues, the more she will “benefit” from a monthly allowance. This allowance has been determined nowadays at the amount of 782€.

While Anne-Fleur was living with her mother, nothing from the allowance was spent. Her mother paid everything. It is very difficult to calculate how much each person living in the same house spends on electricity, telephone, television, food, etc. Usually these expenditures are made communally. Therefore her mother estimated that xx€ were spent on food, xx€ were spent on electricity, etc. And accounts were produced to the Court that had nothing to do with the everyday real life because the everyday real life does not fit in administrative boxes.

When Anne-Fleur’s mother felt she was ageing, she asked the Court to give the effective guardianship to her elder daughter, Anne-Fleur’s sister. Papers were endorsed, signed, duly registered, and Françoise became her sister’s guardian. Nothing changed at the financial level.

When Francoise died, Anne-Fleur was now living with me. We went through the whole obstacle course of the medical and psychiatric evaluation. She was declared incapable adult once more but with high capacities. I was declared competent to take care of her but for the finances. More papers. Hearing of Anne-Fleur by the Court who asked her to sign a paper by which she recognised she was incapable (N.B. How can an incapable person validly recognise that she is incapable?) and that she accepted an appointed administrative guardian. Anne-Fleur did not understand a word of what was happening and told the Court it was stupid to spend a whole sheet of paper for three lines at the top: half a sheet would have been more reasonable.

Then, we went through the second obstacle course: that of the allowance. It was given: 782€ per month. The guardian decided that even as we had no other resources, Anne-Fleur would be allowed 220€ per fortnight. This is our sole “revenue”.

But…But Anne-Fleur being handicapped could “benefit” from hours to help her “socialise” with a lady who would take her out for “socialisation” (the notion is kept vague but may cover taking her for a walk, going to the library, going to see a film, etc.). Anne-Fleur has got three hours of socialisation per week.

I asked about the use of the “socialisation” hours for cleaning and gardening. But strictly speaking, this is impossible because these hours must be devoted to Anne-Fleur exclusively.

However, if the cleaning, cooking, housekeeping, gardening (I mean keeping the environments of the house with cut grass, no more) are not done, the environment can be declared insalubrious and Anne-Fleur taken away from home.

And, letting alone the day-to-day life with 220€ per fortnight, here come the issues.

I drive. Fortunately, because we live in the countryside and we are two kilomètres away from the supermarket. The exhaust pipe is stalled and I cannot drive with it bumping under the car. I have signalled the fact to the financial administrator and asked for it to be mended. No answer. No use of the car. This happened six months ago. Six months of silence. The battery of the car is now discharged. More cost. Still silence.

As we need to eat and we need some other small things to live, the “socialisation” lady has become “the shopping lady”. She drives Anne-Fleur and my shopping list supposedly during one hour on Tuesdays and two hours on Fridays (in fact, it is always less for evident reasons as she has to drive from house to house where she works and that takes a quarter of hour away from an hour) to the supermarket. When she is here. When she is not – at least once or twice per month – there is nobody and no way to make our shopping.

When I talked about a great spring house cleaning, there was a wholehearted yes by all instances.

Now comes the question: who is going to clean and who will pay?

As there has been three months that this issue is being discussed, I am beginning to tell the shopping lady that she will have to demean herself to cleaning lady and help me. She does not like this at all and finds excuses not to do it.

The most evident is that without her shopping, we shall not survive. And you remember that we cannot go shopping by ourselves because the car has been needing mending for six months.

So, we have: no money, no mending of the car, no shopping by ourselves, no help for cleaning.

As to cutting grass, there has been a clear “no” to it. We dare not open the french windows anymore and the paths and alleys are full of grass that goes knee high,but hours for cutting the grass would not be exclusively devoted to Anne-Fleur.

This is our daily life.

If you have come until then and understood that the French administration is full of paradoxes, please, click “I like” or, better, leave a comment. And I shall try once more to explain my issues of car, shopping, house and garden to said administration.

Thank you!

Poetry is honey for the soul (10) – Alison Hope

acacia blos

Poetry is honey for the soul

 

Ali is a well-known blogger, “specialised” in book reviews. She has her own blog and writes daily about a new book (better than I do and makes me feel lazy…). Here is the address:

https://heavenali.wordpress.com/

for the few of you who would not know her yet. She is connected with books: buying books, lending books, reading groups, reviewing books, participating in book groups, in book events, creating them sometimes. I cannot imagine her without a book near at hand! Which is certainly exaggerated as she loves flowers and many other things.

When I asked her if she wanted to contribute, she asked for some days of thought, then sent me the following poem, comment and illustrations. I was surprised to see “Stopping by woods on a snowy evening” by Robert Frost that Phillip had already chosen. For the foreigner that I am it seems one of these poems that haunt you all your life long – and I begin to fall under its spell myself.

 

stoppingby woods (2) (1)

 

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village, though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer  

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake. 

The only other sounds the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep, 

And miles to go before I sleep.

 

There were lots of poems I could (nearly did) choose for this, many deeper, seemingly more complex pieces than this. Yet I kept coming back to this poem, one I first heard probably as a child. I love the deceptive simplicity of the poem, yet the images it evokes remain, and tell a story – albeit a simple one. The reader is left wondering about where the traveller might be going – what are those promises – and to whom were they made?

The poem reminds me -always of my dad – he died eight years ago. I can remember him quoting – on several occasions, though what those occasions were I can’t recall – that final haunting stanza – so it is a poem I always associate with him.

snowywoods (2)

Poetry is honey for the soul (9) – Ellen Moody

           Poetry is honey for the soul

Ellen Moody is … Well, I could write a classic introductory note telling you all about the academic career of Professor Moody, her achievements, diplomas, curriculum vitae. But you will find all this on the net (http://www.jimandellen.org/ellen/emmorlif.htm).  Ellen is someone “from the family” for me, in a way, although we have never met. My God-mother “met” her while discussing in one of Ellen’s numerous reading groups on the net, and I sort of went on discussing in the same groups some years later. In this indirect way, I have been taught a lot.


But Ellen is closer than that. She writes me off line emails, talks about her family, her life, her daughter Isobel, sends recommendations about what to read, photos of her garden and her two cats, Ian and Clary, ceases to be Professor Moody to be simply (what a reductive word !) Ellen.


Links to her various blogs are given at the end of this post.




When I asked her if she would contribute and give us a poem, this is what Ellen wrote: 

“It’s common for women to write of small creatures — and to identify. Women especially have written bird poems.  Here are two of my favorite poets and two bird poems by them for your blog: both are 20th century poets, Judith Wright, Australian, Fleur Adcock, originally a New Zealander.”

I chose Judith Wright poem (this time).

I love Australian literature, art, history, the landscape, and am persuaded the angle on reality that Wright’s background gave her is part of why I love her poetry. And the tone of her mind. Her typical imagery. The rhythms of the lines.”

Extinct Birds

Charles Harpur in his journals long ago

(written in hope and love, and never printed)

recorded the birds of his time’s forest —

birds long vanished with the fallen forest —

described in copperplate on unread pages.

The scarlet satin-bird, swung like a lamp in berries,

he watched in love, and then in hope described it,

There was a bird, blue, small, spangled like dew.

All now are vanished with the fallen forest.

And he, unloved, past hope, was buried,

who helped with proud stained hands to fell the forest,

and set those birds in love on unread pages;

yet thought himself immortal, being a poet.

And is he not immortal, where I found him,

in love and hope along his careful pages? —

the poet vanished, in the vanished forest,

among his brightly tincted extinct birds? 

 

 

This a blog written by Ellen about Judith Wright

with references to other material

Poetry is honey for the soul (8) – Hammad Rais

     Poetry is honey for the soul

Hammad Rais is a blogger I met “by accident” in the blogosphere. I think we were under the same tutorship of WordPress, and he came to my rescue because I had not understood something – as usual. Hammad is from Pakistan, Karachi to be more precise. As months have passed, I have met his family, his parents, parents-in-law, his “lovely wife, Jia” (this is how he introduced her to me), their son Uzair who has just started going to his first school – a Montessori school – and whom I consider as an honorary nephew (!!!); we have worked on some posts together, Hammad and I, to make his country known by Westerners; we have exchanged e-mails, re-blogged and tweeted each other’s blogs.

Hammad is well known by the WordPress community. I do invite you warmly to have a look at this blog (of which I give the link at the end of this post). You will discover another way of life and at the same time our same fundamental way(s) of life and values. In times of non-understanding and violent refusal between the West and the East, it is the beginning of a healing process to go, read, comment, exchange with the One who seems on the other side of a breach. 

Only to state that we are essentially the same.

Hammad blogs about his life life in Pakistan, photography, memories, poetry… I have chosen one of his last “attempts” as he calls them: he says he is no poet but words sometimes bubble this way and no other! .

BRICK BY BRICK

We build up our lives too
Just like our homes
There is a kitchen
Where we make dreams and hopes
A living room which is,
Full of happiness and joy, for everyone
Basement is underground
To store up the memories, good and bad, both
Lawn in front
To plant the future of us and our generations
We have washrooms too
To cleanse ourselves from life’s hardships
A Reading room
To learn not only about ourselves but also about the world.
WP_000134
This is a photograph of Hammad’s home (light and shades),
also published on his blog.
And here is the link to his blog: 
(All texts and images protected by laws and regulations of copyright)