Sunday, 5 August 2018


is my default position, it seems.
Not so long ago I promised myself that I would accept every invitation - well, ok, not the ones that primarily benefit others and cause me a lot of effort and mental and physical expenditure for little return - but my good intentions have already fallen by the wayside.  And for nearly three weeks now I’ve paid the price - that is if you believe in ‘just deserts’. Which I don’t. If there were such a thing as just deserts in this world a lot of people would not lead the happy and prosperous and untroubled lives they live.

Back to me and invitations. A big 70s birthday bash came first. The hosts had hired a hall, caterers, musicians, drink, and everything that makes such things successful. The celebrations were to embrace a ceilidh, my first, and a slight source of nervousness. Country dancing and singing? In public? Without being drunk? Maybe not.

Then came an invitation to an 80th birthday bash, again with food and drink, music and lots of people. Again I found a reason why I shouldn’t go.

The last major invitation was to the wedding of a young friend of mine. It was to be a huge do, with a big marquee in her dad’s field, sit down dinner and a dance at night. The event of the year, with ladies in hats and gentlemen in formal suits for the church service. I saw no way out, had had to accept when the invitation first came, several months ago. I no longer have formal dresses and ordinary day clothes would not have been suitable, so I searched the internet for something neither too expensive nor too formal, coming up with exactly nothing. Smart trousers, jacket and a silk shirt would have to do. I was less and less enthusiastic about the whole thing; you know what it’s like when you feel you must make the effort but really and truly would prefer not to? The idea of sitting in a marquee in 30C, dressed up and unable to put your feet up, surrounded by people you don’t know except for the immediate family of the bride who would, naturally, be too busy to attend to you personally, did not appeal.

And then it happened. An actual bona fide excuse for not going to the wedding of the year (locally) fell into my lap. Or rather, I fell into the excuse. Gardener and I were out, I was about to show him a bit that needed his attention, marched there ahead of him under full sail, saw a dog poo in my path, swerved, and landed in the dip between a flower bed and the lawn in my heeled mules and promptly fell flat on my face, luckily avoiding the dog poo. I scrambled up, gardener laughing his head off, my dignity badly dented but otherwise apparently unharmed if somewhat sore. I thought little more of it and continued gardening.

Two days later the first big bruises appeared. Then my leg swelled up, more bruises appeared, the colours deepening into midnight blue. Now, nearly three weeks later, I still suffer. The doctor says I must have ruptured a blood vessel and bled internally. “It will get better eventually”, he said, “your foot will be the last part affected. Don’t worry if it swells up.” Thanks for reassuring me, doctor, I’m awaiting results.  “In the end the blood will be reabsorbed and the discolouration will probably disappear too”.

For a good two weeks I have spent the days sitting in an easy chair with my very painful leg on a footstool covered with cushions, read and watched (whisper it), daytime TV. And been bored out of my skull.

What do you think, is this ‘just and fair punishment' for inventing excuses (well, actually, lying) to my friends in return for their kind invitations?


  1. I married into a large family that celebrates all the life cycle events big time with big fancy events. My mother-in-law stopped coming to these invitations a decade, more ago. none of us could understand. her usual excuse was she didn't have anything appropriate to wear and couldn't afford to get anything. now I'm 68 and the celebrations are falling to the younger generations who I knew as children but not really as adults and I totally get it now. so I wouldn't call it 'just desserts' so much as having as actual real excuse, albeit a painful one, instead of having to suffer or lie. as for your vow of accepting all invitations...two steps forward and one step back is still progress.

  2. Oh dear. I'm sorry about your fall and subsequent bruising, swelling and pain.

    I don't like going to big 'dos' either, having nothing to wear, nor the $ to go out and buy, plus they would just be way out of my comfort zone.

    Be well dear Friko ~ FlowerLady

  3. Ouch.
    I am an avoider of big public occasions too. I am however, very sorry, that your excuses became reasons.

  4. Hi Friko - finding the 'wherewithall' to say I'd love to come, but I'll only stay a little while if that's alright ... or just not going and explaining why. It's life ... your friends will enjoy their parties with or without you - though I'm sure they'd be happy to see you for a short time: except the necessity of paying $$$ for an outfit ...

    I do hope those bruises ease up ... and yes isn't daytime tv awful. Can you borrow films from the library or friends - so you've something interesting to watch.

    With thoughts as you heal ... take care and other less formal invitations will follow - cheers Hilary

  5. We've reached the age where every birthday is a major milestone. Living in a small village, you're going to have to find less dramatic, and pain free excuses to avoid big parties, I'm afraid. A surgical stocking might be enough.
    Meanwhile, I hope you're healing quickly.

  6. DH's side of the family always had huge family get-togethers for every occasion. We didn't live close so we didn't need an excuse, but my MIL (as she aged) never attended. She said it was too much for her. I can see that. So don't beat yourself up (literally or emotionally). It's OK. But I do hope you heal soon.

  7. People invite you because they want you to share their occasion...but they will fully understand if you say you are really not up to big bashes these days.
    Sorry to hear of your sounds really miserable.

  8. I am at a place in my life where I can say, "I am honored that you invited me, but I simply do not enjoy large gatherings, so I'm going to say no."

    There are many introverts in the world, and I'd be surprised if many of us enjoy these gatherings. There is an upcoming wedding in our family, and I am delighted that I will be working with refugees in Greece and will be unable to attend. My husband, however, has no excuse.

  9. NOT just deserts, and wholly unfair. These large celebratory gatherings I find impossible, so I absolutely empathize with your response. I come from a very large family that loved to have family reunions. I found them intolerable and finally, finally, learned to say no. Not easy, but what a relief.

  10. I think it's rotten luck that you suffered so. May you continue to be on the mend!

    I actually attended a 30-year school reunion last night. Up until I walked into the place where the event was held, I did not want to go. Anxiety, mostly, seems to hold me back from doing things with people these days. Fortunately, it was a friendly affair & I am glad to have had really nice chats with old school chums.

  11. Tut. A good rule of thumb (in the graceful art of saying 'no')is declining invites when they do not appeal.

  12. "is this ‘just and fair punishment' for inventing excuses"

    No! Of course not.

    Get well soon. Maybe there is something good on. Keep looking. :)

  13. We are a pair, friend Friko … I fell as well the other day. Love, cat.

  14. Oh dear, I'm sorry for your fall and resulting injury. Two weeks (and more) is a long time to be laid up. Daytime television is dreadful here, and it sounds as if it is the same in the UK.

    Both of us tend to keep too much to home and we read more and more about how social activities contribute to healthy aging. So we're trying to extend our social contacts. It's not a lot of fun, to tell you the truth, but we have met some interesting people that we enjoy talking with.

    Get well soon!

  15. While I truly love all sorts of parties, I am not too fond of dressing up when it is as hot as it is this summer. Luckily, there are no big "dos" right now on the list; just smaller events where O.K. and/or I have the "take it or leave it" approach.
    Sorry to hear about your fall. With your leg being in so much pain, it must be even harder to bear the heat with the addition discomfort it brings. Hopefully, your doctor's diagnosis is correct and it will eventually all disappear. Can't you take any pain killers to make you feel a little better?

  16. I attend events where I feel comfortable, and make excuses for those I don’t. I do, though, enjoy being invited and fear that too many sent regrets will limit those. It is a balance.

    I hope your leg heals quickly. My fall recently has me watching my every step. Netflix helped get through it.

  17. No, it's not just punishment, but that idea makes me laugh! This falls into the "be careful what you ask for; you might get it" camp. I'm really so sorry about your fall (relieved you miss the dog poo though; that would be insult to injury -- literally.) That has to hurt terribly, and while I'm glad it's not worse, it's worse enough.

    As for invitations, I think they fall into two camps -- the more intimate gatherings (which might even be a fairly large but at-home party) which I admire your accepting and those overwhelming ones that might be very grand, even fun when you got there but maybe too much. Don't feel guilty, weird or whatever for making those choices, my friend. We all make choices --and I'm sure you regretted gracefully.

  18. I can't bear big huge occasions of jollity, falsity and the hardy-har-har biz along with Small Talk which I am unable to perform. They bring out my worst public persona. I've covered it with a camera around my neck when I have to show up. Something about a camera.

    Also, I believe that in your grief, the absence of Himself would be more reinforced in such festivities. Just a thought.

    Good luck with healing.


  19. Oh dear! I would probably be thinking the same thing--LOL! Even though it's probably not true. ;) Rest and keep those feet up. :)

  20. Thinking you maybe need to balance your social commitments between small and intimate and large and celebratory. I am really sorry about the fall, but so glad it happened when someone was around to help! Be thankful that people invite you!! I wonder when and if my social husband passes before me, if anyone would invite me anywhere again ever!

  21. Allow me to tell you a very short story. Last December, a group I belong to decided to have a social -- potluck dinner and such -- instead of a regular meeting, as a way of celebrating the holidays. I was ambivalent from the start, for reasons I couldn't quite pinpoint. I volunteered to bring a salad and a dessert. I prepared them. I took them to the meeting place and arranged them on the table. Then, I told everyone I hadn't been feeling well, and didn't dare stay, 'lest I infect everyone else with what I had.

    I'm not sure you can infect others with sudden-onset anti-social feeling, but you never know!

    It's just who we are, Friko, and there's no need for apologies. Life is getting too short to be bored, or uncomfortable. The truth is, more often than not, people are happy to have us show up, but don't really notice if we don't.

    You have my sympathy for that bruising. Decades ago, I went flying off a pogo stick and landed on my hip. The bruise didn't show up for a week, but when it did, it went from my hip to my knee, and I hardly could walk. I still was involved with the church, and was wearing my clerical collar when I drove myself to the emergency room. It was quite an experience, all around. Dog poo might have been preferable.

  22. Every day that you post immediately becomes a better day for me, no matter what is going on with you. You "tell it like it is". Much appreciated. I had a good laugh about the "default" position. Think it funny, too that you think maybe you got your "just" reward. Still, I would rather you had not fallen, dog poo avoided or not! I have fallen a few times, too. I remember the embarrassed feeling when I stubbed my toe and landed face down on a sidewalk in a public place. I hope Gardener did not rub it in too much!
    I remember times when you have really enjoyed being with your friends. I wish you more of those times; but understand how unpleasant it feels to make yourself do something you don't want to do. Please. When you find yourself bored, post for us to read. Then we all win!

  23. Sorry to hear about your fall - hope you are doing better soon. I don’t think you got your just reward and anyway don’t they say things come in 3’s so maybe that’s all the invitations out the way for a while,


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