One of the funniest things I ever heard was a child saying that his friend had cut his tongue on a cold drink can and all his taste buds had fallen out! Well, hopefully all that happened was that he had a small cut on the tip of his tongue and was still able to taste for the rest of his life! It must be dreadful being unable to taste food, smell fragrances, feel discomfort or pain in parts of one’s body (within reason of course!), hear sound or see the beauty all around. Our five senses are such an important part of being human.
A relative who was getting on in years once said that if she had to choose between being unable to hear or unable to see, she would probably choose having poor eyesight but still be able to enjoy listening to music. A difficult choice, and one which I believe none of us would willingly want to have to make. Losing one of our senses, after enjoying them for a good part of our lives, has to be traumatic in any event. Experts tell us that our other senses step in to compensate for the loss but surely that would only be the case in very young people or if one or more of the senses is absent from birth? I do hope that I never have to put that theory to the test!
What is more delicious than waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee? Oh, hang on-what about the appetizing smell of frying onions? Bacon sizzling away is another winner for those who are allowed to eat pork. The list could go on and on and the olfactory nerves have already awakened the taste buds (those which have not been lost through a sharp edged cold drink can!) which are now fired up and raring to go! Opening the window and taking a deep breath after the rain is decidedly therapeutic – especially if it hasn’t rained for quite a while. No more dust in the air! Divine! Yes, the power of smell is very important to a quality of life. Perfumers have known all about this since time immemorial and we pay a premium when we buy a bottle of their expertise!
What about touch? The warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you cuddle a new puppy or a new baby for that matter (depends on your preference of course), not to mention the smell of the puppy breath as well. We will leave out the new baby smell as it’s not always one of baby powder and soothing lavender lotion. How about the comfort of a friend’s hug when the days have been tough? We often tend to under estimate the value of being able to feel through our sense of touch. Babies need to be touched from the moment they are born. Premature infants in incubators are known to respond positively to gentle touch whilst fighting to survive. Humans are tactile creatures and many of us tend to ignore the importance of touch by being afraid of seeming to be needy.
Friends and family are so often scattered all over the world these days, and to be able to pick up the phone and hear your loved ones’ voices can make all the difference when it comes to coping with the miles that separate you. Fortunately there are a variety of up-to-date devices which assist with hearing loss which can be beneficial in many cases. One’s voice is unique, and often even age does not result in it changing. How often have you heard something which transports you back in time to another place and another age? It may have been someone’s voice, a song, a piece of music or even the sound of a plane flying over your house.
Sight is something we take for granted until the day we realise that the writing seems to be getting smaller or it is becoming difficult to read road signs. Fortunately, whether young or old, there are many forms of treatment. For children, wearing glasses is now in vogue – unlike those years in the past when a child was often the only one in the school who had to wear them and often got teased and called “four eyes” and asked if they wore them when they were asleep! Apart from deterioration due to age, with cataract removal surgery, lens implants, and an often performed procedure to cure short sightedness we are living in a world where we should be able to enjoy good sight for most, if not all, of our lives. However, even with 20/20 vision there are probably many people out there who remember the embarrassment of seeing someone you are sure you know and calling their name, only to find out that it’s not that person at all! So, sometimes, the sense of sight can be deceiving.
Eyes need to be treated with care as strange and often dangerous things can happen. An example is the true story of the over-worked, young mother trying to juggle a full-time job with bringing up a toddler, who grabbed a bottle of eye drops one morning to ease her dry eyes. Imagine her horror when she suddenly found herself totally unable to see, and her irises had become enormous. In desperation she rushed to the pharmacy for help. She took the bottle of eye drops with her and was horrified to discover that they were the ones the vet had prescribed for her dog’s eye infection! Never again will she store human and canine medication on the same shelf! Yes, she did recover the full function of her eyes, after a few days of blurry vision!
For many people their favourite sense is the sense of taste and it would be politically incorrect to mention the way in which this is often obvious to outside observers! Being blindfolded and asked to identify various foods can be quite nerve wracking as one is often suspicious if the food is not visible. Chefs know the importance of the presentation of the food to be served. If it looks appetising then one is more likely to savour the flavour. Even the most delicious food can fail the taste test due to its messy appearance. Imagine just how dull life would be if we had a yellow pill for breakfast, a green one for lunch and a red one for dinner. Many wives would welcome an advance such as this with open arms, but there is a lot to be said (and millions of ardent food lovers will vouch for this) for enjoying one’s food.
Many starving people in the world will never be in a position to understand the true enjoyment of experiencing different flavours of food, as for them food is just a necessity and not a gastronomic delight. For those fortunate enough for this not to apply and who have their taste buds intact and are able to thoroughly enjoy their sense of taste – Bon Appetit!
A lot has been written about a sixth sense and that will be covered in a later blog which I trust will prove to be of interest.
I hope that this early blog of mine, when posted, appears where it is meant to appear. The technicalities of blogging are still a bit of a challenge to me, but with some of the assistance which I am getting, things should improve sooner rather than later. Please bear with me!
Brilliant sunshine once more here in Johannesburg – so much easier to be sunnily chilly than blearily cold! For those who may not know, Jo’burg is situated on the Highveld plateau, approximately 6000 feet above sea level, and our winters are reportedly the best in the whole of South Africa and it is not as difficult to be cheerful when the weather is good rather than when it is overcast. We really only have two seasons here – winter and summer, and after the wonderful, much needed heavy rain over the past weekend, the summer heat has waned and it is a bit on the nippy side today! This was the first real rain of the season and was so badly needed. Everyone was delighted to see the plants in the garden being resurrected after 4 months of not a single drop of rain, but after two days it is always wonderful to see the sun again!
Whenever anyone mentions the U.K., the subject of weather raises its head. It’s always about the miserable faces of the darkly dressed commuters on the London underground that seems to have a lasting memory for people who have lived and worked there. One fails to realise that many of those commuters are not in fact English and do not even understand the language. Quite unnerving as a visitor to the U.K. and trying to find one’s way around London, when you jump onto the train just before it departs and then ask all and sundry if this is going to wherever you want to be, and all you get is dead silence! London has changed!
In the late 1960’s London was a different place altogether. As you arrived at Heathrow you were immediately aware of the cockney accents all around you from people working at the airport. Even if there were faces of different hues, everyone seemed to be a Londoner. Not so any more! One struggles to come across a true Londoner in the capital these days. From the moment one heads for the centre of London on the Heathrow express, it becomes apparent that the old London is no more, and is now inhabited by every possible nationality speaking their own version of English!
Whilst in London a few years ago I noticed that Oxford or Regents Street on a normal working day can be packed with people rushing by pulling their overnight bags or, in rare cases, their business bags, behind them. If it happens to be raining, the other hand will be wielding a brightly coloured brolly. It becomes a major feat to get to Hamleys toy shop whilst fighting for your life amongst this mayhem and trying to avoid being trampled to death or blinded by an umbrella’s spike. Dare to walk right on the edge of the pavement to avoid the rush of passers-by, and lo and behold you could find yourself having a London bus or a taxi practically mounting the curb right beside you – what a way to go!
Someone once told me that their late Grandmother had survived the Titanic, only to be killed years later by being run over by a London bus – makes one really wonder about fate! Must be a lesson to be learnt here somewhere? Stay home and forget about further travel maybe? This is certainly not an option with most of the people I know!
Another rather ironic situation in the present day London as compared to the swinging sixties is the fact that shop assistants are no longer local people. Italian restaurants have Polish waitresses, Hamleys have Chinese young people demonstrating all the toys, Selfridges seems to have no one whose English is good enough to assist you in finding the rest rooms and so it continues! Every once in a while you may see an elderly couple looking quite out of place in the centre of the shopping area obviously going about their day to day lives. They are easily spotted due to their shopping bag on wheels and their English peaches and cream complexions.
Being part of the E.U. has obviously had an impact on the changing face of London along with the influx of people who form part of the Commonwealth and therefore were able to settle in the U.K. Not only London, but throughout the U.K. things are very different to the post war years. Change is an inevitable part of life and some changes are for the better, but when a country loses its identity due to being overly accommodating, then one can sometimes become rather nostalgic for an England which no longer exists. However, the fish and chips are still delicious even though they are no longer wrapped in newspaper and come in a polystyrene container and playing conkers is considered a dangerous sport!
Now that I am starting to blog, the question comes up as to how to describe oneself?
My name is Judith Angela Nemeth (nee Binns), but as my first and last names when used together sound as though there is some sort of speech impediment, I tend to be called Judy or Jude and I live in South Africa!
I am definitely a people person, so all my interests do involve other people to some extent. I am passionate about psychological matters (have an Honours degree in Clinical Psychology) especially areas such as twin studies and the effect of early childhood experiences on later life. Making people laugh and feel better about their situation is something I thrive on. I am also fully qualified in reflexology and aromatherapy!
I have been in sales for many years, have lectured, taught an African language to school children, been a Lifeline counsellor (at a time when Aids had just reared its ugly head) and hired and trained staff in the hospitality industry during the 5 years I was a co-owner of a pub and restaurant where I was also a hands-on manager. My hope is to be able to share past experiences, current ideas as well as to have something truly worthwhile to contribute through my blog which is definitely not going to be all about me!
I was born in England and was fortunate enough to have travelled quite extensively in Europe during my younger years and have many memories and interesting facts related to this which I would love to share at some stage.
My aim is to have a blog which is sometimes interesting, sometimes informative, sometimes controversial and anything in between. Hopefully it will be fun to read – there is so much negativity in the world around us that some tongue in cheek humour often helps to lighten the load of day to day living. To appeal to all age groups and different cultural backgrounds would mean that my blogging is successful!
Choosing my blog name “Hey Jude” was easy as I am called Jude by many special people in my life, and the Beatles hit of the same name brings with it a lot of personal memories.