Do we care for our loved ones?

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5 June 1664

(Lord’s day). About one in the morning I was knocked up by my mayds to come to my wife who is very ill. I rose, and from some cold she got to-day, or from something else, she is taken with great gripings, a looseness, and vomiting. I lay a while by her upon the bed, she being in great pain, poor wretch, but that being a little over I to bed again, and lay, and then up and to my office all the morning, setting matters to rights in some accounts and papers, and then to dinner, whither Mr. Shepley, late come to town, came to me, and after dinner and some pleasant discourse he went his way, being to go out of town to Huntington again to-morrow. So all the afternoon with my wife discoursing and talking, and in the evening to my office doing business, and then home to supper and to bed.

I have recently taken delivery via the omnipresent 24/7 “bookshop in the sky”Amazon of a book entitled “Samuel Pepys, the Unequalled Self”. It received the Whitbread book of the year prize and the author is Claire Tomalin. She has more or less absorbed the whole of Pepys’s life and presents it in an entertaining summary form in 450 pages or so. I’m getting a more and more accurate impression of this man, warts and all. Incidentally, this saying is supposed to have originated with Oliver Cromwell who was against any form of vanity and gave such instructions to his painter Sir Peter Lely when commissioning his portrait. Sir Peter was appointed as Charles II Principal Painter in Ordinary – how’s that for an arcane title?

I think it’s safe to say that Pepys would not have originated women’s liberation (actually a Rothschild idea) and it is clear that he sees it as almost his right to be intimate with various females single or married . It takes an extreme illness of his wife for him to condescend to join her in her bedroom. Here was I thinking that most people would actually sleep in the same bed but clearly not in this case. On this particular day he was dividing his time between his wife and his work.

This causes me to ponder whether in the dreadful phrase familiarity breeds contempt. I don’t think we really mean contempt I think we are talking about  taking someone for granted. Do we notice the subtle signs that they are not happy. I disagree with interview techniques asking them how they feel and so on. It is better to be the sort of person that the partner or colleague feels free to talk to and this is something not achieved by a single act of will by something built up over the years. It involves the T word ….trust, and knowing that someone cares. If you have to tell someone you care for them then you are a loser because you have not demonstrated it subliminally and continually.

passing clouds amidst a blue sky

My wife awoke this morning to feel a sense of frustration or shall we say a sense of everything not being well. Both of us are able to pick up the thoughts of other people but sometimes we get signals mixed up as you do where personal needs are involved. After 10 min constructive introspection we could find nothing out of order. I think sometimes we have what I call passing clouds where for no particular reason we feel down or dissociated and in my experience these feelings pass when we get on with something and focus on something outside ourselves. The human spirit is a tough old thing but we help it to function at its best by giving it something to do, a person to be involved with, a practical task, perhaps even just going for a walk. This is often sufficient to clear the air.

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