Dick Tong from Hong Kong said of his stay at Hanover House – ‘It’s so unforgettable. I wish I could live here for ever!‘ (Talking of ‘unforgettable’ …..)
A subject on BBC Radio 4 caught my attention today concerning lapses of memory, especially of those of us who are slightly older – although it can affect much younger people too. Memory, or loss or lack of it, comes in different forms. There is the total obliteration of a memory because of stress or trauma, where the brain either overloads or blots out an unpleasant experience; there is a lack of attention due to a busy mind, tiredness or overload; forgetfulness, sometimes due to age or fatigue or because of an unthinking routine, or even in the extreme case, permanent loss of memory due to the early stages of dementia.
It is not unusual at all however for everyone to suffer from occasional memory lapse, such as forgetting someone’s name – who you might know extremely well – or a word required at a key moment. Often one knows the general sense of the word one is searching for, but the more one delves into the mental recesses, the harder the word is to grasp. It is often best to put it out of the mind altogether and either, because the subconscious is still working at the problem, or because you spring back to thinking about it, the word suddenly comes – a bit like re-booting your computer!
Recently we have been very busy in Hanover House (www.hanoverhouse.org) with a wide variety of things, both business and social (as well as the early stages of Christmas planning) and Veronica has much on her mind. She has always been a bit prone to working on auto-pilot and extreme absent mindedness, and she has been excelling herself – cookery books and clean milk jugs in the fridge and my birthday present from last July suddenly remembered and handed over, because it expires before December (a ride on a steam train!). Not quite as bad perhaps as one of the cases quoted on Radio 4’s PM programme, when a woman left her house, locked the front door, climbed into her car and was just turning into the road when she realised that she hadn’t a clue where she was supposed to be going. She just had to turn round and go back to the house.
What, however, really brought another aspect of forgetfulness to mind was when I arrived home from work tonight. Parking in front of the welcoming glow of light from Hanover House, I noticed that Jan next door had just got back from her shopping, and moving round her car was using my headlights to peer at a piece of paper. I politely left my lights on until she’d finished, then I got out and asked if she’d finished reading. She laughed and explained that it was her shopping list she’d taken with her but had forgotten to take with her into the supermarket. She’d completed the shop and was now perusing the list to see what she might not have bought that she needed. Like ‘dinner?’ she said as she disappeared indoors…
I hope that I haven’t forgotten anything I wanted to say, but with things as they are, I’ll probably never know!