Bernie Bell’s John Rae Challenge…Completed!!!!

By Bernie Bell

Years ago, Mike’s Dad and I were discussing which of the ways of connecting with the world around us we’d be least loath to lose.  Mike’s Dad was amused when I said speech, as I am a talker!  Though, he had room to talk, he could rattle on just as much as I could!

I said speech because it’s the connection with the world in which we’re most on ‘transmit’ and least on ‘receive’.  I would hate to lose my sight – not to be able to see the world about me – people’s faces – the look in the eyes of a dog who is my friend.

Losing hearing, would mean that I’d lose most of music – maybe still have something through vibration, but, mostly, I’d lose music –  and what other people were saying, of course.

Taste – again that’s very much on receive – I don’t just like food because it fills me up, I love the tastes, and smells.  And, similarly, drink – it’s not just to quench my thirst, or for inebriation, it’s for the taste. 

There was a time when I drank alcohol to help me to stop thinking – now, it’s mainly for the taste, and the smell.  I can breathe in a good whisky and enjoy that almost as much as drinking it.

Which leads me on to being able to smell things – the enjoyment of a present smell, and the memories which a scent can bring back.

The down side of that, are those smells which make you heave, then you can’t get them out of your nose for days.

But, it’s a case of taking the rough with the smooth, as with many things.  To be able to fully enjoy the plus, we need to also be prepared to take on the minus.

With all these connections with the world, we are on ‘receive’,  whereas talking – goes out from us, to the world.

That’s what I said to Mike’s Dad, and he saw my point.  It would be very hard to not be able to speak, especially for two such gabbers as we were!  However, we agreed that, if we had to lose one of our ways of connecting with the world, we’d both go for the power of speech, as we’d be losing a lot more, if we lost the others. He has since passed from this life, and is possibly lecturing someone, somewhere, about bumble-bees, as I write.

So, we come to the John Rae Challenge, and I was trying to think of something I could do to help raise funds for the Hall of Clestrain restoration.  As I can’t actually do much these days, I hit on the idea of not doing something, instead, and that something was…..talking – remaining silent between the hours of 2 and 5 on the 31st October.

Fiona-As-Was-Next-door said I’d be OK as long as there was no-one there to talk to, and Steve-Who-Is-Now-Next-Door said I’d have to stay indoors!  And he’s right, so I did.

These days the only folk I talk with are the neighbours, and their dogs, so, if I stayed indoors, that would help a lot.

At 2 minutes to 2, I said, “Right then, I’m now zipping my lip.”   For if I needed to ‘say’ something, I had my notebook to hand to write it down – I write as easily as I talk!

Then, at 5 o’clock, I put on my Isley Brothers c.d. and bellowed along to ‘Shout’ – Lulu ‘nicked it from the Isleys – and I felt Aaaaaaaaaall – Riiiiiiiight!!!!

Pic shows me – worn out by silence…………..

Never again, if I can help it!  It’s unbelievably difficult, even to stop myself saying things like – “Look at the horrible weather.”

I realise that I have a terrible tendency to give a running commentary on what’s happening around me….

“ Ooo, there’s a Robin”.  “This lunch is yummy.”  And so on and so on and ….so on.

Mike is a patient man –  if I was someone else, I’d be tempted to throttle me!  If you see what I mean. Hmmmmmmmm?

I done it though – I only been and gone and done it!!!!

Many thanks to all who sponsored me …many thanks indeed………from me, and the Hall of Clestrain!

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