Friday, 22 May 2009

At Last a Decison . . .

Well at long last a decision has been made. I now know which car we are going to buy. Well, not exactly which car as we now have to negotiate the next decision. A 'new' new car, or a demonstrator 'new', or a 2nd hand.

My much loved Jazz which was perfect for whizzing around the local lanes and small villages and towns has not been suitable as our main car. MyMan finds it difficult to get in and out of it. It is a hard jiggly ride for someone with back problems. On the rare occasions that MyMan drives, I too find it hard in the passenger seat and often end up with back ache.

It's taken many many months to choose. Initially we liked the Toyota Corolla Verso but it didn't have an automatic model - only semi-automatic. I wasn't keen. Even if it did sound very macho.

So we progressed to looking at the Ford S Max; the Citroen Grand c4. Honda CRV and numerous others. Many very comfortable cars. The big difficulty was in finding a petrol automatic. For the limited mileage we do each year I didn't want the hassle of a diesel automatic and the concern about 'particulate filters' maintenance when driving so many short journeys. My annual mileage usually less than 5000 miles. I cannot get particularly excited about particulate filters - whatever ... Some salesmen tried to tell me it wouldn't be a problem. But I didn't want to have to pay extra on servicing each year if I'd only done limited mileage. A potential problem I don't need or want.

The Honda CRV very comfortable when MyMan, with his short legs, managed to climb in. But he felt it would be embarrassing to take a step stool every where with us, so that was off the list. We almost purchased a Nissan Qashqai. I love the adverts. I like the idea of young funky urban image. No problems finding a CVT automatic petrol engine. Only problem was it was a bit small. MyMan had to flex his neck (difficult) to get in. I loved driving it. It felt just like the Jazz. But larger and more solid. MyMan felt it was a good compromise but still hankered after the Verso. He'd taken lately to admiring them in car parks and sighing deeply.

Then just as we were going to commit to buying the Qashqai we read this article in the Telegraph. Two weeks later; 2 test drives completed and we are about to seal a deal and buy a new car. New to us that is. I'm not sure there will be any 2nd hand ones on the market yet so we'll see if we can find a demonstrator. It's easy to drive but feels a bit wide to me. Especially round the narrow Devon lanes. I hope to get used to it once I drive one regularly. It's a sedate drive but maybe at age 60 I should now become a sedate (or a sedated) driver. At least I'll be able to eyeball lorry drivers. Toyota have a reputation for reliability. I hope it will be money well spent. It seems a lot to pay out when we no longer have an income.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Carers' Support Each Other

On Wednesday evening I went out. I left home at 7 p.m and like a teenager going out on the razzle for the evening I felt an eager sense of anticipation. In a small hotel betwixt and between Honiton and Exeter I met up with 11 other carers to enjoy a drink and share stories. It felt a bit like an Al-anon meeting. I almost stood up to say "My name's Penelope and I care for a disabled and mentally depressed husband". We ranged through all ages from 30s to mid 60s. But all of us were women. Caring for a partner, husband, son or daughter. Many had far more traumatic situations to cope with than I. Suicide attempts. But they all felt that I had been coping for a long time as many of them had been carers for'only' 2 years.

It was good to share our experiences and to hear that so many of our PIGS [Person I Give love and Support to] carry on in the same way. How self centred and selfish they are. How they say one thing but frequently mean another. How much they dislike our going out to enjoy ourselves. The emotional pressure or emotional blackmail our PIGS use. Our own feelings of grief and loss. How sadness affects us. That Depression is contagious.

For 3 hours we talked. Sometimes seriously. But more often in a lighthearted way. We also were able to laugh. Many laughs.Laugh a lot. Shared laughter is the best thing in life.