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‘Choice’ – the Elixir of Life.

mind-mappingYou know what? I never realised how much I would miss the old blog. Never realised how much the community of commentators had become part of my life.

I thought it had become a chore. A burden. The daily diet of e-mails to be answered. The research for each post. The hassle of dealing with the glitches and gremlins that are part and parcel of keeping a blog going.

I actually thought I was doing it for you. I did. Honestly.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I finally closed the doors back in December. I closed down the e-mail account. Abandoned the Twitter feed. Stopped paying for the hosting.

I had the perfect excuse for doing so. My health was deteriorating. The tumour in my arm had grown so large that I was typing with one hand. One of the ones in my lung was groaning with discomfort whenever I sat upright.  I didn’t know then about the one in my spine, but I knew that my back hurt like hell whenever I sat upright. I limped back and forth from the kettle to the computer, thanks to the one in my leg. That’s just the ones on the surface – there are others, buried inside my body.

Nothing could be more ridiculous than to continue to write for the benefit of other people, given all that, right? Pack it in and concentrate on myself was the only sensible course of action. Right?


I have learnt many lessons since last December. Painful lessons.

Most of all, I have learnt how ‘choice’ is an important part of all our lives. Probably the most important part – and probably the part we take for granted more than any other aspect of daily life.

Right now, I would love a cup of tea and a biscuit. Mr G is busy painting the panels beneath the windows of the room that will be my new home. I can’t ask him to stop halfway – and I can’t walk to the kettle to do it myself, so I have no choice in the simple matter of wanting a cup of tea and a biscuit.

My entire life is composed of having no choice in mundane things like that.  I clean my teeth when someone else hands me a toothbrush. I can see to read a newspaper when someone else chooses to turn the light on, or hands me my glasses when I ask for them.

Don’t get me wrong – everyone is exceptionally kind and only too willing to do whatever I ask. There is a difference though. They are exercising choice as to whether to do whatever it is I have asked for – or not. My ‘choice’ has been reduced to being able to choose what sort of mood I greet each day with, and to reach whatever has been left within arm’s reach of me.

That means my keyboard has become a powerful weapon of ‘choice’. I can choose to write. I can choose to bring attention to the compensation culture that is crippling the NHS. I can choose to stand for parliament. I can choose to re-open the virtual pub that was ‘Anna Raccoon’ – sometimes known as the ‘Raccoon Arms’.

Hmmn. I Thought I was running the blog for your benefit! Seems I wasn’t, for when I examined the choices still available to me…… there it is, large as life, on the list of choices available to me – ‘open the blog and write again’.

Looks like I was doing it for my benefit all the time.

Since writing also figured hugely on that list of things that dictated my frame of mind for the day, the regulars of the Raccoon Arms are a kind of double whammy – I missed you all. Even on the days when you were crotchety and grumpy; especially on the days when you were witty and inspirational; as for the days when you sent me shooting off to Google to understand what you were talking about because you were way too intelligent and educated for me to keep up – I loved it – it was educational!

So, thanks to the white knight who saved my archive unasked, and who has set up this site for me – the doors are open once more. You will notice that he has manged to very cleverly stitch the archive to the back of this new WordPress blog,  so it is both the virtual pub, and the archive that he saved. I still own the annaraccoon.com domain name and that is in the process of being pointed towards this new blog, so it should all settle down within a few days.

First drinks at the bar are free – unless you live in Islington North, in which case I would be accused of treating for votes!

I would particularly welcome your suggestions as to what you would like to see me write about, for my world is of necessity shrunk to the confines of this bed, which means I won’t have the stimulus of – for instance – taking a trip down the river on the boat with Mr G. I know what one post will be – and that is to show you photographs of the amazing room Mr G has built onto our house in the past six weeks, which will be my new home. It is truly beautiful with a fantastic view of the river. I’ve just got to be patient and wait for the scaffolding to come down tomorrow, and the floor to be laid.

My mind is free though – my mind can go anywhere it wants to. That is the most valuable choice of all.

Make the most of your choices today. They are easily mislaid. They are more valuable than you think.

{ 50 comments… add one }

  • Lilith May 9, 2017, 7:03 am

    OH God Anna, I love you.xxxxx

    • Anna Raccoon May 9, 2017, 7:10 am

      With the help of you all – we will overcome this blip in my life, and continue as before – with ‘added excitement’ of an election to talk about and partake in!

      • Lilith May 9, 2017, 7:16 am

        Hugs and Hurrahs and I’ll drink to that!

  • darktheywere May 9, 2017, 7:07 am

    Trying to work out what the opposite of a “snowflake” is, ‘cos you are one! Welcome back landlady, mine’s a light and bitter 🙂

    • Stephen Bayliss May 10, 2017, 8:33 am

      That would be a diamond… Equally beautiful but enduring perfect for La Racoone.

  • Michael May 9, 2017, 7:08 am

    Good morning, great piece. I kinda wish I did live in Islington North, if only until polling day.

  • TheBlockedDwarf May 9, 2017, 7:11 am

    If you ever invite me down for coffee again -or rather if G wants to invite me down for a tea and turps-then I’ll happily take some photos of the new Raccoonerie and write up G’s in depth description of whether he used stainless steel pins or galvanised staples. You could then rework my efforts into something readable, save you typing the piece from scratch.
    Also have you consider getting au fait with speech recognition software, ‘Siri’ I think the Apple one is called? Might make writing a little easier as you proved the other day you can recount an already formulated blog post as easily as you write one.

    • nisakiman May 10, 2017, 9:38 am

      I’ve got a program called ‘Dragon Naturally Speaking’, which I haven’t actually delved into much yet, but it gets good reviews. I downloaded it because I’m a two-finger typist, which means my fingers can’t keep up with my thoughts, so it seemed like a good idea. I’ve had it on my computer for more than six months, and haven’t yet got around to teaching it how I speak – in fact I’d forgotten all about it until I read this post. I’ll have to dig it out and start using it. I believe it’s a Windows only program, though, so if you’re using a Mac, it won’t be an option. Ah, no, I stand corrected. I just Googled it, and they do a Mac version too.



      • TheBlockedDwarf May 10, 2017, 2:21 pm

        @nisaki, I used Dragon a few years back (no of course i didn’t pay real actual money for it, what do you take me for?!) and IF one follows the instructions (no I didn’t, I’m male) and one patiently reads and reads Alice In Wonderland to it aloud before first use it does do a rather good job. But I assume that is the same for any Speech Recognition software.
        Biggest problem with it I found was my laptop had no built in mic, only a jack, and even the handcrafted micro mic i bought to use with it (and it was actually handcrafted by a former sound engineer and was a thing of beauty) didn’t deliver the sort of ‘recording’ Dragon needed to understand my ramblings. It also didn’t like my chopping and changing between German and English and my trying to listen to BBC Radio4 while I ‘worked’.

  • Jonathan May 9, 2017, 8:49 am

    I’m always amused to find equally (almost) elderly expert bloggers and users of the new technology are as useless at bits of it as I am! Your link on my site was indeed wrong and I have managed to correct it (god knows how). Welcome back to the real world of virtual reality! Jx

    • Anna Raccoon May 9, 2017, 8:59 am

      Thank you Jonathan!

  • Jonathan May 9, 2017, 9:13 am

    Now if I could work out how to add my photo…

  • Nessie May 9, 2017, 9:25 am

    Welcome back Anna, I have missed you

  • Lizzie CornishL May 9, 2017, 9:29 am

    I love you too, Anna…GREAT to have you back…and can’t wait to see Mr. G’s ‘grand design’. Much love to you both. ((xx))

  • Joe Public May 9, 2017, 9:30 am

    “I would particularly welcome your suggestions as to what you would like to see me write about…. ”

    This reader would like to see you write about ….. once a day for the next few years.

  • deejaym May 9, 2017, 9:31 am

    Your last 3 sentences (of this post!)

    So true.

    Welcome back …..

  • anonymong May 9, 2017, 9:40 am

    Glad to see you back

  • weary mother May 9, 2017, 10:14 am

    In this life, if you are ill, or have a son or daughter with autism or a learning disabilities – or both – all are vulnerable to people who have a little bit of power; people – paid only to help.and support us and remind us who we are and who we could be..- too often abuse with this power. They suppress and diminish ..us and ours, and grind us down. Especially if we speak out. And keep on..

    Reading your magnificent blog for the very first time to day, has given me energy this morning – to get up and do it to them all over again…xxxxx

  • The Sommelier May 9, 2017, 10:55 am

    Great to have anything at all written that will be interesting and stimulating.

  • Ellen Coulson May 9, 2017, 12:47 pm

    Welcome back. Now I think all we need to find you is a robot which will fetch and carry for you.

    • TheBlockedDwarf May 9, 2017, 12:58 pm

      Why ? Is the G-bot broken?

  • cherie79 May 9, 2017, 1:35 pm

    Welcome home Anna, I look forward to your thoughts on all the election news. It’s great to have you back and whatever you write about it is always interesting and thought provoking. Take care.
    Carol x

  • cherie79 May 9, 2017, 1:39 pm

    Ps now logged in as Cherie79
    on Wordpress usually carol42!

  • Alvin Bayliss May 9, 2017, 2:16 pm

    Hi Anna, I’m so happy you’re back behind the bar again.
    I’ll have a large one of anything you’re selling.

  • Judd May 9, 2017, 3:41 pm

    Well that’s turned a cloudy day into a very fine day indeed, jolly good to see you back behind the bar ma’am, you have been sorely missed.

    You want some suggestions.

    Well with the election that definately wasn’t going to happen but now is, i and i’m sure others are at a point where none of the above seems to be the only possible vote, though more earthy terms might be writ clearly upon the ballot.

    So firstly i would like the landlady to tell us which Oscar chairman May and that Junker geezer will be up for next year or the one after, they’re hamming the fighting talk script up better than even the marvellous Alan Rickman could have managed, the usual preening luvvies don’t stand a chance against such performances.

    Could you hot your metaphorical minds knife up perlease ma’am and slice through the frozen butter of just what the hell is going on with this Brexit/election debacle for the rest of us.

    Keep well both you and the good man.


    • Anna Raccoon May 9, 2017, 4:03 pm

      I cannot tell you how happy I am to be back behind the bar – I have spent the afternoon writing something for tomorrow; it is a slow process for me now, and it may be a bit more rambling than usual – I am, after all, drugged to the eyeballs – but just to be composing and thinking, rather than lying here feeing sorry for myself, feels so good!

  • Bandini May 9, 2017, 7:03 pm

    Welcome back, Anna!

    A look into the slothful CPS might be an idea, what with the Sword of Alison hovering over the heads of several would-be MPs (for one daft reason or another!).
    And I see Corbyn & May will be appearing on Question Time together on June 2nd; any Raccoonite both lucky enough to bag a ticket & of sufficiently strong stomach to endure an evening in the presence of the smugger of the Dimbleby brothers (the £450,000-a-year one, forget his name) might have a chance to raise the sacking of the NHS by the P.I.solicitors when the topic of future funding is inevitably raised.


    • Anna Raccoon May 9, 2017, 8:44 pm

      The Kato Harris decision on costs was an eye opener. I take it you’ve seen it?

      • Bandini May 10, 2017, 10:38 am

        Indeed I had, But while it seems only just that he recoups the cost – in financial terms at least – it doesn’t really prise the lid off the unsavoury schenanigans behind the decision to charge him in the first place. (The CPS “declined to provide an account of how the decision to charge Harris came to be made” – oh!)

        John Martyn (who acted for Kato Harris) writing in the Law Gazette made me smile:

        “The CPS instructed a senior QC to prosecute the case. Unsurprisingly, Harris felt that he had no alternative but to borrow to pay for his own representation to ensure equality of arms [and he chose me!].”

        But what about those without access to funds, borrowed though they may be?
        Another recent case caught my eye, one with tragic consequences:

        Again, one has to wonder who was really pushing the allegation: the alleged victim, or ‘campaigners’ and those with an axe to grind? The sort of people who could pen an article like the following:

        Though it’s an older article by a few weeks I read the Mail-piece first; the Guardian seem determined to insinuate that ‘he got away with it’. It’s a nasty piece in my opinion.

  • pxanthippou May 9, 2017, 8:34 pm

    It occurs to me that, whilst making a cup of tea might present a challenge (although, assuming it had some water in, the kettle might be lit off), it ought not to take too much electronic ingenuity to create a small panel with a few buttons enabling you, e.g., to switch lights on and off, similar to the one no doubt provided for adjusting parts of the bed.

    Welcome back to the blogosphere.


    • Anna Raccoon May 9, 2017, 8:43 pm

      Mr G is ahead of you – he has already arranged for me to be able to turn a fan on and off, and lights – and of course my all important computer. He has been working from 6am every day to arrange things for me, and you will be staggered when you finally get to see what he has achieved. The thatchers have finished (not his handiwork – he knows when he’s beat!) the scaffolding comes down tomorrow, the floor should be laid in the next day or so – we even had a blind manufacturer (should I say a manufacturer of blinds? – there was nothng wrong with his eyesight!) and then I shall be able to move into my new abode! I’m so proud of what he’s done, I can’t wait to show you all.

      • pxanthippou May 9, 2017, 10:06 pm

        I’m not sure it’s a matter of “knowing when he’s beat”, Anna: it’s hard to imagine his being inadequate to what ever he put his hand to; on the other paw, I can imagine his having the good sense to realize that some tasks — and thatching would be one — call for years of experience … and the dog, of course!

        Ah, the ‘blind manufacturer’: an oldie but a goodie.

        Looking forward to seeing the pictures.


  • A Faint Glo May 9, 2017, 10:47 pm

    When your world shrinks to what’s within a 2′ reach from your bed in the kitchen, whaddya do?
    You hit your keyboard (located on a ‘solid & stable’ lap-tray on top of your duvet) and you take on & aim to run your life through your keyboard.
    8th June: Islington… 9th June: THE WORLD!
    Couldn’t be more proud of you and what you are doing.
    xx A Faint Glo xx

    • Anna Raccoon May 9, 2017, 10:51 pm

      As in a ‘dim Glo’?

      • A Faint Glo May 9, 2017, 11:01 pm

        The very same!
        Did you think there could possibly be more than one Dim Glo?

        • Anna Raccoon May 9, 2017, 11:02 pm

          Never! A unique brand.

          • A Faint Glo May 9, 2017, 11:08 pm

            Very pleased to have found you blogging again; you can do anything & everything from that bed in the kitchen, can’t you?

          • Anna Raccoon May 9, 2017, 11:30 pm

            I’m just finding out just how much I can do – it’s all in the mind!

  • luzilablog May 9, 2017, 11:13 pm

    Welcome back Madame and enjoy your writings, as will we all.
    Do please arrange for photo uploads of Mr. G’s inventions for your maximum comfort and ease of use, when completed, and may they make you as comfortable as can be for you to carry on fighting for your admirable aims. Chapeau Madame!

  • Gloria Smudd May 9, 2017, 11:30 pm


    • TheBlockedDwarf May 9, 2017, 11:52 pm

      People, you won’t know this but Smuddy was there for AR when she came home from hospital, caring for her, making tea and seedless jam toast. She also apprenticed to G and became a holder-upper of bits of board that G needed to measure in situ.
      So a tip of all our hats and caps to her would be inorder.
      *hopes Smudd is now frightfully embarrassed in that way only brits can manage when complimented*
      AR really does have some very good friends.

      • Gloria Smudd May 10, 2017, 12:21 am

        Embarrassed I am.
        Too kind you are.

      • Anna Raccoon May 10, 2017, 6:20 am

        Let it be noted for the record, that too many good, good, friends, just to pick Gloria Smudd and Blocked Dwarf and the shining knight on a white horse who not only rescued my archive, but set up this web site in double quick time yesterday as a representative sample, are in fact ‘Internet friends’.

        We hear too much about the dangers of the internet, and how you can come in contact with dangerous and frightening people – and not nearly enough about how you can also come to be in touch with thoroughly decent people with hearts of gold that you would never have met without the internet. I guess they don’t make a good enough story for the newspapers.

        A tip of the bushy raccoon tail to you all.

  • roobeedoo2 May 9, 2017, 11:56 pm

    So glad you’ve opened the doors to the Raccoon Arms again…


    All the best for the election.

  • mike fowle May 10, 2017, 7:57 am

    How wonderful to see you again. You truly are indomitable.

  • David Duff May 10, 2017, 8:48 am

    Your return is the best news I’ve had for ages. Consider yourself well and truly hugged, er, but very gently mind!

  • Lisboeta May 10, 2017, 4:49 pm

    Very glad to see you back Anna. Your writing is always so well-reasoned and thought-provoking. Who cares if you were doing it for yourself all along — we all benefitted.

  • Cornish Lark May 11, 2017, 12:20 pm

    I can’t tell you how much I have missed your blog. Love from one old Moulin Rouge dancer to another X

  • Arthur Pint May 11, 2017, 2:51 pm

    It is great to have you back again.

  • Don Cox May 12, 2017, 7:52 am

    It’s great to have you back again. The blog has been much missed.
    Best wishes for the future.

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