Alexander Averin

Sunday 30 November 2008

In the Bleak MidWinter - Corrine May

On beauty and pain

Dear Diary,

(All photos are by M).

The pain passes but the beauty remains
Pierre Auguste Renoir

It takes pains to be beautiful.

I remember that saying from somewhere in the distant past that was the childhood or the adolescent period of my life. Was it something to do with the pain in having one’s hair coiffed or brushed? From whence it comes I know not but perhaps beauty and pain do go together. Perhaps anything worth achieving carries its price in pain. I am suffering from the cold but the beauty of Winter is all around.

When the temperature drops below freezing, this little stone cottage is harder to heat, it has no central heating and we rely on the ancient Rayburn in the snug which is alight all year round and the woodburner in the parlour which we light at nightfall or earlier on very cold days such as these. Each year we say we really must install some kind of 'proper' heating system but then the temperatures rise to a comfortable level above freezing point and Winter seems easier to bear. But if these too-cold days persist I think we may have to consider central heating of some kind even though the cost of coal and electricity has rocketed and oil is always a worry. Nothing is anything like cheap and never will be again methinks but at the moment we are paying a lot because, as well as buying coal and logs, we use expensive oil filled radiators elsewhere to provide much-needed extra warmth.

I woke this morning to an unforecasted heavy frost, another one that followed yesterday’s which was -2.5 degrees on my journey to work in the car and which remained only barely above freezing all day. I am still recovering from a nasty stomach bug so I didn’t venture outside and when I returned home after work which, being Saturday, was thankfully only half a day, I retired to the warmth of the parlour and its logs (M had kindly lit the fire) and I indulged myself in a spot of rugby watching. What a result. Wales beat Australia! (Apologies to any readers in Australia, it is nothing personal you understand).

My appetite is returning but strange foods attract me, crisps. crackers, mashed potato, fish, soup. And I want to drink Coke., preferably flat - a well known remedy for tummy problems.
But Just for Today, Sunday, I shall not moan. A brisk walk in the frozen air is called for. Hopefully I can capture a few photos while the dogs enjoy a good run. Then when I come back I can always retire to the warmth of that sofa again.

Blessings? There are a few.

The beauty of the elements. Fire, earth, water and air. Their mix always varies and delights in equal measure. Whether it is sun and rain bringing rainbows, cloud and rain bringing mists and deep, fast-moving shadows over the hills or sea and wind bringing huge waves. Today there is sunshine, mist and frost, always a winner with everyone,

Winter trees - to me they are a special work of art and one I only have to look out of my window to see.

Sleep. As the Irish say, it is always the best thing and such a healer.

Appetite for food. Sometimes it disappears, one of those things we take for granted and when it does come back, even if we crave odd foods, it is such a welcome relief.

Surprise gifts in the post! I received one yesterday from a very dear Purplecoo friend. She bought it for me online from an American blogger and it can be seen below in its new home.

Shall I end with a poem?

In the bleak midwinter

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart

Christina Rossetti

There was a list published this week of ‘top carols’ chosen by so-called ‘experts’ and I was surprised and pleased to see my top carol at number one. I love this poem by Christina Rossetti and it seems appropriate for today. So far we have no ‘snow on snow’ but I feel it won’t be long in coming.

If you also like this carol do go and view the (YouTube) Corrine May video in my post above.
So beautiful it brought a tear to my eye.

Stay warm,

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,

Friday 21 November 2008

On Cats and Life

There are two means of refuge from the misery of life - music and cats.

Albert Schweitzer

Dear Diary,

OK, it is time for a confession. It has been a long time since my last blog posting. I have no excuses, ’twas just Life getting in my way.

This morning I wandered in the field with the dogs. It was cold, sunny and there was a stillness of air that was punctuated by some very strong gusts. I smelled Ireland in its breath, it was as if Her turf fires were wrapped in the wind and there was even a scent of snow at its hindmost. Only yesterday I had smelled Spring, what is happening to our weather? My magnolia is in bud again and I still have roses clinging on to the bushes.

I called on my Magic Crab Apple tree and paid my respects for I had not visited for ages. There seems to be a multitude of crab apples, all scattered at its feet now, save for a few bundles that have landed in little hollows in its trunk where they resemble little birds nests filled with eggs.

A couple of my friends have been on retreats lately and I am rather envious. Even though I live in a fairly peaceful location I hanker after a (temporary) removal to just ‘be’. Perhaps it is just solitude I crave because I need it in regular doses.

I lost a friend recently, that may be why I am thinking about Life and Death and all that. She was not young but she was certainly much too young to die so suddenly and it shocked the community in which she lived. Although we were not close friends we had stumbled on a common bond between us and we both had slightly similar secrets to share which made her feel ‘special’ to me. I spoke to her the very morning of the day that she passed over and the last thing she said to me was ‘Take Care’; funnily enough she had never ever said that to me before. Her funeral was on Wednesday. I dread funerals as I am usually taken over (embarrassingly) by emotion but this one was a true celebration of her life and I came away feeling positive. Even the weather was kind, bestowing upon us bright sunshine and blue skies.

R. had started writing a book about her life and it would have been a best seller (I can tell you that much) and I am so sorry that she will never finish it. One of her sons spoke at some length about his Mum, it was moving and completely unrehearsed. Another read a passage from the Bible. I was surprised to learn that R had ten grandchildren.

Anyway enough of all that.

On to cats.

A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem.

Jean Burden

This is a photo of Layla, a kitten belonging to my brother and sister-in-law. Layla was born in the Welsh hills, not far from here, but now lives in leafy Surrey; she is thoroughly spoilt I have to say and enjoying the very best of everything with plenty of cuddles too. She is a very pretty, highly intelligent cat and strangely behaves more like a dog than a feline. She is very knowing.

She has Big Ears. I wonder if she is half-wild…..…do wild cats have big ears, does anyone know? M says she is half rabbit but I think he is joking…..

Here is a photo of her, see what I mean?

I shall sign off now with a poem that I read on the most scrumptious blog that is
Willow’s. It is written by one of my favourite poets but I had not come across this one called Praying. I hope Willow will not mind me posting it here.


It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

Mary Oliver

Bye for now,
God Bless,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,

Wednesday 5 November 2008

President Barack Obama

Dear Diary,

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

Martin Luther King

(for full speech see Footmote below)

Politics aside, whatever your personal views, a 47-year old Afro-American, a great orator, a visionary and a poet has been elected as President of the USA.

Today is an historic day, a victory for democracy. A day I am proud to see. Would that we had politicians who could be so inspirational. Is there anyone in the UK that you would stand in line for four hours to vote for? I think not.

I celebrate this day.

I also celebrate with my friends across the pond the demise of George Bush’s rule, a man who has blighted our lives and damaged our world. I am deeply ashamed of the things he has instigated in my name.

M switched on the radio during the night; we enjoyed a cup of tea and listened for an hour before going back to sleep. The results were looking hopeful then for Obama but were still not yet certain. I listened to Erica Jong as she spoke slowly and wisely and she called Bush and his entourage ‘morons‘.

Barack Obama has an awareness that has been lacking, an intelligence, a creativity, a broadness of mind and view.

At 7 am the clock radio woke us again and we heard a recording of Obama’s voice giving his acceptance speech in what was described as a voice ‘rough-edged with tiredness’. It sounded good to me.

Today is Guy Fawkes Day, the irony of the date is not lost on me. If we have an effigy to burn let it be for the death of all the ‘bad’ that has gone by and may a New World arise, like the proverbial Phoenix, from the ashes.

And forgive me if I slip in what I have always seen before as a sickly sweet cliché

God Bless America.

Bye for now,

PS. This is a transcript of Martin Luther’s speech. It is long but it is worth a read, when you can spare the time, on this historic day.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.
We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by a sign stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."¹

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Martin Luther King

Footnote, taken from the Observer March 2008.

King had arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, to support a strike by public sanitary workers. He led a series of protests. The aim was that they should be peaceful, although some were marred by violence. On 3 April, 1968, the day before his assassination, he delivered his famous 'I have seen the mountain top' speech in Memphis. Many people have since claimed the words seemed to eerily predict his death, as King warned: 'I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you.'

King was felled by a single bullet as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, just outside his room. His last words were to some supporters in the car park below, when King called out to one of them to make sure he played the spiritual 'Take My Hand, Precious Lord' at a church meeting planned for that evening.

A white escaped convict called James Earl Ray was arrested at London's Heathrow airport two months after King was killed. Ray pleaded guilty to avoid a trial and a possible death sentence. Later, he protested his innocence and claimed that King had been killed as part of a government and mafia conspiracy. Prominent members of the King family have supported that idea, as have civil rights leaders such as the Rev Jesse Jackson. Ray died in jail in 1998.

Saturday 1 November 2008

Ghost Story

A Ghost on a Stair?
Maybe. Maybe not.
(Not my ghost though but do read on.)

Dear Diary

By the way, before I start, if you want to listen to my Music Library as you read, click on the Play list (top left of player) and then when you reach the page click Library. For some reason the Playlist is not playing but the Library is.

Halloween was a lovely day weather-wise. I ventured out into the sunshine to sweep up yet more leaves from the back yard, much of them are a soggy mess.

But it is perfect and even though the Wind is coming from the north-east, He is warmed by the rays of the Sun and I spend a Happy Hour sweeping, but not with my besom for I shall be needing that later tonight when I take off into the skies. I did tell you I was a witch!

Sweeping all done I have a quick tidy-up, more of a lick though and a promise to carry on at the weekend.

It’s the end of Autumn now according to Pagan traditions and I will be putting my garden to bed soon, making her nicely cosy and then it really will be my time to start enjoying a partial hibernation with Winter. I do not fear this though because if time goes by as quickly as it has been this year then Spring will be here before we know it.

The Spirits arrived in the far too early hours this Halloween morn; it was still dark of course and hours to go before dawn but my clock radio came on all by itself. I listened to about three sentences of news from the World Service (BBC news about the BBC again!) and then it switched itself off. M and I both heard it so it was not my imagination.

I am used to family spirits making themselves known so I was not worried at all; usually they make our chiming clock do strange things or interfere with my CD player. This is the first time that clock and radio were affected simultaneously and they actually woke me. They say the veil between this world and the Spirit World is thinnest at Halloween.

Speaking of which, I promised you a Ghost Story and a true one. It may not be much of one but I shall tell you what happened and you can make up your own mind. However, you are honoured to hear it as I only tell special people, those who will trust me and will not think I am being delusional or lying.

I have experienced many psychic experiences in my life, ever since I was a child in fact but I have only ever seen one ghost (so far).

Hereford General Hospital (originally known as the Infirmary)

Hereford old General hospital is no more as it was demolished a few years ago but I was lucky (?) enough to be sent there for my orthopaedic ward placement in the mid-nineties during my RGN training. The building was a huge Victorian brick building in the middle of Hereford and it was set alongside the River Wye. My main place of training was the nearby County Hospital, parts of which were the old Victorian workhouse. Gilbert Harding was born there actually as his parents ran the workhouse - only those of a certain age will know who I am talking about, he was a radio personality, long before the Ross and Brands of our day but well known on the BBC Home Service and also BBC TV, none the less.

The ward I was to work on in the General was on the top floor and to reach it I had to climb many flights of stone stairs. As soon as my feet were on these stairs I felt uneasy, my ‘otherworldly’ feeling came upon me and the feeling increased at each turn on the staircase. Finally at the top the discomfort increased even more.

The ward was large and a bit of a sprawl, obviously as the result of old walls having been removed at some stage of ‘modernisation’. Not that the hospital was very much modernised; it still had the air and the appearance of the life it had in Victorian times. There were several generously-sized side-rooms used for wards for single-occupancy patients.

The staff were friendly, the ward well-run and the actual nursing I was to carry out there was much enjoyed during my month-long stint. They seemed geared to Project 2000, the nursing course that, for my sins, I was studying. This course was academic-based, not a bad thing in itself but it did not teach us enough of the practical hands-on skills needed for basic nursing. Sure, I enjoyed the academic side and did very well but I lacked confidence where the nitty-gritty practicalities were concerned. The course has now been scrapped/altered, thank God.

I digress.

Each day as I would come on duty I would feel uncomfortable in this one end of the hospital and especially on the stairwell. I also felt the same un-ease in the lift which I avoided using unless I was forced to - accompanying patients to and from theatre for example.

Another funny thing on that ward were the patients’ buzzers that would go off in the side wards quite often. I would hurry along to see what was wanted and the patients would swear blind that they had not buzzed. These rooms seemed ‘cold’ to me and I would have hated to have been a patient in one of them. I felt pity for these people, it was a far ‘warmer’ atmosphere on the main ward, even though that ‘sprawled’ and was made up of little ‘areas’ all tucked in little corners.

The training was good. I learned a lot about orthopaedics - this branch of surgery has a very good reputation in Hereford. I observed a hip replacement operation, (noisy stuff!), took patients down to theatre and cared for them pre and post-op. I had no complaints on that score and as I say the ward’s staff were all genial and kind.

After my first week had nearly ended I was set to work a couple of late shifts (1.30 to 9 pm).

After my first late shift I was tired (of course) and eager to go home as I made my way to a little side room where my coat was hung. It was in the deep of winter and I was not looking forward to my hour’s drive back to our smallholding in the Welsh hills. I washed my hands at a little sink and as I stood there all alone with the open doorway behind me, I ‘felt’ a person behind me. I’m sure you have all felt this sort of thing when something makes you look round?

So, drawn to look round, I did so and half expected to see another member of staff, a cleaner or someone. As I looked at the doorway I saw a figure walk by, but she was incomplete, she was grey and misty but still recognisable as a figure. She seemed to glide yet she moved in a nurse-like fashion, a kind of slow bustling, controlled, it’s hard to explain. I could make out she was female by her dress.

What did I feel? Acceptance and certainly not fear. I was used to psychic phenomena and I had experienced several during my nurse training. I instinctively knew there was nothing to fear from this woman. What I did fear though was mentioning it to my fellow nurses on the ward in case they might think their new student nurse was a little cranky or mentally deranged. I wanted a good report! Also I was desperate to get home. So I made my way back down the stone staircase (there I did feel afraid) and out into the cold, dark night. I couldn’t wait to get home to Wales and to tell M. Funnily enough, only a few weeks before this happened, I had been saying that I had never seen a ghost (M has on more than one occasion) and kind of wishing that I could.

My next shift the following day was also a late one so I could have a lie-in and recover my strength before I would make the journey back to Hereford.

The following day my afternoon and evening shift passed well and without incident nursing-wise but buzzers still occasionally went off with people saying they hadn’t buzzed. The whole building breathed its history and I could sense its voices round every corner. The canteen area was terrible, I only went in there once. It was not a comfortable place to work but the brightness of my colleagues and also the lovely friendly Herefordshire patients lifted me. I knew I had only three more weeks to endure.

At the end of my second late shift I did exactly the same thing as I had done the night before; I went to get my coat and wash my hands. Once more all alone, I stood at the sink and this time I looked round first before I felt anything. Yes, you’ve guessed it….. the ghost walked by again! It was exactly the same time as the previous evening. Feeling braver this time I rushed out after her but she had turned a corner of the corridor and she would have gone on to the main ward and I could not very well re-appear there in my coat. I would not have been able to explain myself to the newly-arrived night shift.

So I made my way home, eager to tell M that I had seen this ghost again!

I had three more weeks on this ward but I didn’t see her again. Straight after that I was back in nursing college, back ‘in school’ as we called it. I was back with my friends and fellow students again, always a pleasure to be free from the hard physical work and the stress that being a student entailed. Whilst sharing my orthopaedic experiences with J. a woman who like me was a mature student, I told her about my ghostly experience; she was the only person outside my famiy that I told.

J seemed totally accepting and she nodded knowingly.

‘Ah that’s the Grey Lady’ she said.

(I must tell you that J is a Herefordshire ’native’, a community auxiliary nurse who was doing the RGN course. She is an absolute treasure of a person, a real ‘angel flying too close to the ground’ if ever there was one).

‘The Grey Lady is well known in the General‘, she said. ‘But only some nurses actually see her‘.

She then told me the story of the Grey Lady.

Apparently she was a nurse working there at, if I am correct, the time of the First World War. It could have been the Boer war, I can’t remember what she said. She was however, over-conscientious and had experienced a complete nervous breakdown because of stress and over-work and it ended with her throwing herself from the top of the huge stone stairwell (the creepy stairwell) to the bottom.

Her spirit will not leave, she is still too conscientious and will not give up work. Apparently she tours the hospital helping out as she goes, from Accident and Emergency where she moves heavy equipment about, to the Orthopaedic wards where she still cares for patients. On the wards she will open or close windows, place blankets on patients in the night etc. It is quite common for patients to thank nurses for some such task that has been done for them in the night only to hear that the nurses have done no such thing! She sets buzzers off though as her ‘energy’ is so strong and seems to cause all sorts of electrical goings-ons - as spirits do. Only a few nurses actually see her though.

J said that one of the consultants, then soon-to-be-retired, was compiling a book about her and I did mean to contact him to tell him I had seen her but I never did. I still have to seek this out.

So that is the end of ‘my ghost’. It was only a fleeting sight but a memorable one! And it was heartening to know that she did exist and I was not the only one who saw this poor soul. I think her spirit should have been exorcised, in a kindly way of course; perhaps I should use the phrase ‘put to rest’ rather than exorcise. But there was something nice about the fact that a spirit could still be around caring for poorly people while they sleep.

But I don’t need convincing, I know that spirits are always around us and they make themselves ‘known’, especially at times of need.

I haven’t seen a ghost since and I have no desire to do so. But the Grey Lady wasn’t evil which is why she didn’t scare me. I was however very uncomfortable in the area where she had ended her life, the stairwell, that still carried the traces of her deep depression, her lone desperation and her untimely tragic death.

The building is no more and new buildings are in its place. I wonder what happened to that poor woman’s spirit? Where will she go now her place of work is gone? Will she remain in the same area? Does she still come on duty each evening in some other place?

I would love to know,

God Bless her.

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,