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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Evidence that ... evidence that ... er .......

A day with my 21 year old daughter who's home for the summer before starting her new job in September.

Me:        [writing another article for the TES to add to previous articles I've written for them and doing     research the lazy way]  Hey, Daughter, what was the name of the 1970s band who did that song?  You know, the one about Christmas and everybody's having fun.

Her:       [doesn't even have to think about it] Slade.

Me:        Oh, thanks.   [Inserts reference into article.]

Pause.

Her:       There is no way, Mum, that should have been me who knew that and not you.

This just exemplifies what is happening to my memory.  I think it's to do with my age.  I looked up the blog of someone called Perry Menopause, and he says that around this time, once you hit 50, your memory can deteriorate quite ... quite ... in fact, I can't recall exactly what Perry said, but I'm sure it explained everything.

Just after my grandchild was born a month ago, I was between lessons at school and someone came into the English Department and said, 'Hey, I hear you're a Grandma!  What's his name?'

Do you know, I stood there for a few seconds, thinking ... six letters ... I know it's six letters ... I know it's a Biblical name ... then I said, 'Josiah?'.

All my colleagues in the office yelled, 'No, it's not, it's ELIJAH!'

'Ah.  That's it.  Elijah,' I said.  'I knew that.  I knew that.  I said it was six letters.'  I slunk off to go and teach some kids about Romeo and Janet.

Here's a chance to draw a distinction between two easily confused words: incredulous and incredible.

a) It was incredible that Fran had forgotten her own grandson's name so quickly.

b) Fran's colleagues were incredulous that they had had to remind her of her own grandson's name.

I offer a recent picture, just to show you that I remembered to take my camera with me when I saw him last.  (Not hard.  He was staying with us.)

He's the one on the left.


Still, what I can remember is how to cook by instinct.  (Just as well, because I may not be able to remember exactly where we keep the recipe books.)

A short scene from half an hour ago, set in a domestic kitchen:

Me:      Right, so I'm making a pineapple upside down pudding.  I think I might make a little syrup to go in the bottom of the dish.

Daughter:  You think you might?

Me:      Yep, and then I might put a bit of ground ginger in it.

Daughter:   Er, shouldn't you be following some kind of recipe for this?

Me:       Yeah, that's about enough brown sugar.  I'll just pop a little butter in there too, I reckon.

Daughter:   You reckon?  You don't actually know?

Me:      That looks about right.

Daughter:    Oh, as long as it's about right.

We'd just had her version of Japanese stir-fry.  Some of you know she's been a Japanese Student at Sheffield University, and now she cooks for us sometimes the dishes she made for herself while out in Hiroshima, missing us like crazy, enjoying her independence.

I was watching her eat with chopsticks, grappling with noodles about a mile long.  'It's not a  polite process,' I said, 'is it?'

So, then, she demonstrated for us how she would have done it in Japan.  I will say two things about this:

1. The idea of how to eat noodles politely varies wildly across the globe.

2. I've never heard anyone slurp for so long without a breath.  As I said, long noodles.





33 comments:

  1. The Grandson looks very wise and thoughtful. He'll help you remember. (Oh and he's gorgeous, too!)How was the pudding?

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    1. It was fab. We ate far too much of it and are now virtually comatose.

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  2. Everything slows down when you get older. I'm sure the internet was quicker when I was a kid.

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    1. At least you HAD the internet when you were a kid. I didn't even have the telephone.

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  3. Can't help you with the ... thing... wotsit... memory, or lack thereof. Every time I forget someone's name I'm terrified I have early onset Alzheimer's. I confided this to a colleague who said 'oh, it's much more likely to be the menopause - I had a memory like a seive.' Thank you so much, that made me feel really good. Not.

    Glad someone else cooks like me - one of my favourite recipes is 'fridge risotto' where you put the rice on to cook before emptying the contents of the fridge leftovers into the pan. As long as you have the two constant ingredients of (a)rice and (b) wine, it should work. Generally, anyway, although the other day's 'beetroot/bacon/broccoli/broad beans' combo wasn't half as good as it should have been given the rather pleasing alliteration.

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    1. I love your fridge risotto idea. My methods are very similar! I'm glad you didn't have Bananas and custard in the fridge too else that wouldn't have helped the mixture at all.

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    2. You're right - the bananas & custard jobbie would have given me pause for thought - then again, by the time that the broccoli had gone in, I was game for anything, bananas included (see Int Cookery blog on my profile (where I try jolly hard to be a proper cook) if you are remotely bothered).

      More questionable would be the custard/cauliflower/cous cous/cabbage risotto mix which the above 'nanas & custard envisages...

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  4. Really enjoyed this post, Fran. If recent evidence is anything to go by, forgetting words, names, etc. plagues us all, whatever our age! My excuse is that I've simply got far too many interesting things buzzing around my mind to enable me to focus on 'details'...

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    1. Thanks, Sam. I will use your excuse in future. Too many interesting things in my head ... it's a good one.

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  5. Isn't slurping customary in Japan? I thought I read this someplace.

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    1. Exactly! That's the point. She was trying not to slurp first-time round and then demonstrated how it REALLY is.

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  6. I don't want to be discouraging, Sam and Fran, but I'm not sure that your only grandchild's name could be described as a detail... Having said that, our grandson's womb name was Billy and I did address him as such once or twice in his first couple of weeks.

    I once knew someone whose womb name was Wellington, and then this became his actual middle name.

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    1. I love the Wellington story. What if it had been a girl? 'We baptise this child Olivia Charlotte Wellington ...'

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  7. Going ga-ga is compulsory for grandmothers , isn't it ?

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    1. I thought it was just the babies who were meant to do that? But if you say it's compulsory, I guess I'll just ... I guess I'll ...

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  8. I have a friend who, when asked her name, often asks, "How soon do you need to know?"

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    1. Brilliant! I will use that as a delaying strategy.

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  9. Hahahaha! Fun post and congrats on the grandson, what's his name with six letters. He's a cutie.

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    1. Thanks. His good looks, charm and natural panache are all hereditary.

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  10. After a while Fran you will accept that some of your thoughts do one lap and then disappear before they reach your mouth. Sometimes this is a good thing :)

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    1. Very topical 'Olympian' type comment. You are really in the groove there.

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  11. Love that picture, and I'm imagining a stream of people, queuing to take Elijah's advice.

    I met up with some former Uni colleagues last week, for lunch, and had a LONG conversation about how poor our memories had become. The subject would probably have drawn to a close much earlier, had we not been repeating ourselves... a lot!

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    1. Ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha! ...........

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  12. It's particularly frustrating as a writer to forever be saying 'oh, what's the word for that?' ...you wonder at what age Lear started writing nonsense poems don't you?

    ... also, what is the evolutionary purpose of forgetting where you live?

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    1. Next time you forget where you live, BB, you can pop round here. The address is ... the address is ...

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  13. I am never able to remember new faces at work straight off, it takes weeks/months/years for me to remember if I don't see them very often. Our built-in fridge has been broken since Christmas, yet why do I still want to get milk out of it?

    If it isn't on the shopping list it doesn't get bought!

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    1. I'd been at one school for 4 years, Nick, and then told a teacher that I'd just had lunch with 'Greg'. 'No, you haven't,' he said. 'I swear I have,' I insisted. 'No. I'm Greg,' he said. Embarrassing or what? He was a Head of Department, too, so a big player I should have known.

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  14. I'm surprised you remember where the kitchen is, Fran.Never mind the tin of pineapple. Er, it was pineapple, wasn't it?

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    1. Funnily enough, Friko, the kitchen is the one place I seem to be able to remember very well indeed.

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  15. I'm laughing so hard I'm about to pee but I can't remember where the bathroom is because I know that Perry guy but I've moved on to his brother, Post. Odd name, don't you think?

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Perry and Post - a couple of men we all get to know eventually. Popular guys.

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  16. I forget his name too, which is not something an Auntie should admit. Although after I've gone through the Biblical... six letters... thought process I always come up with ISIAH.

    Which is five letters.

    I obviously have not inherited my mother's talent for spelling.

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    1. Isaiah is six once you put the a in. And that's the other name I keep thinking of, too. You may not have my talent for spelling, but you're picking up my memory loss skills very well, then.

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