Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blood swept lands and seas of red.........

image

On Monday, I woke up and decided to go to London. 

I wanted to go to the Tower, to see the poppies. 


So I caught the train at 11, got to London before 12, hopped on the Circle line (new tubes with no carriages!) and I was at Tower Hill before I knew it. Thankfully, the walk was not far at all, because let me tell you, trains vibrate. This is not good. 

I knew what to expect, because my children and friends have been in the past few months, as the poppies have spread, and I have seen the photos, but nothing quite prepares you for the sea of red. Every single ceramic poppy - all different heights - represents one British military death in World War 1. 

All 888,246. 

image


image


image

They pour our of the window in the Tower, down onto the moat - and spread in all directions.

image

Then the wave soars up and into another section. 

Every day, volunteers place more, until November 11th, 100 years after WW1 began,when the final one will be placed. 
image

Blood swept lands

image

and seas of red......

image

Thousands and thousands of people go to see the poppies every day. Schools too. I can't tell you how many people there are there, and yet it is respectful, and the awe is tangible. You cannot help but be unbearably moved when you think of all those young lives - and some were so very young. My grandfather fought in WW1. He lived. 
image

I had to ask a random stranger to take my photo, because I couldn't quite manage the selfie with stick, bag, wind and all. We did manage to avoid the rain. 

image

I found a cup of coffee, and sat down near the river to drink it and reflect, and then I wandered slowly  back to the tube. Back to the station, and back onto the train and home again by 3.30. 

I am so very glad I went. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Thoughts from around 2am in the dark........

image

Thinking. 

I was just thinking. 
Actually, I do my best thinking  around 2am. It is amazing what the brain can come up with in the early hours. 

Anyway, I was thinking about how unfair the global financial meltdown was. It was precipitated by mistakes/errors by the bankers. Not the little people. 

So can anyone please tell me why the governments didn't make the banks pay for the mistakes/errors, and put things right, but rather, rewarded them all by first bailing them out and then letting them keep All The Money as things recovered, and instead, wait for it, decided that the little people would pay. And Pay. And Pay. And Pay. Forever and a day. The evil bankers get the bonus cheques every year. Little people get smaller pay packets. And the best bit is that the banks get to decide if the little people can every get any help. Like mortgages. Loans. 

It seems all very wrong indeed. More than wrong at 2am. 

Then I started thinking about getting a wheelchair. 
Pick yourselves up off the floor this instant. Yes, this is me speaking. The one who refuses to contemplate the advent of the wheelchair while there is still breath left in me. That still stands. Stands. 

Hahahahaha. 

You see, I am sick and tired of missing stuff. Stuff like concerts, weddings, shows, singing, parties, bands, music, films, church worship services. Anything involving noise or vibration. Music. Things I LOVE. I want them back. Now. So, at 2.05am sometime last week, I thought about getting a wheelchair, and experimenting with rubberised thicknesses to cover the seat, back, arm and foot rests which would absorb vibration and some sound waves and let me take part. Be there. Go to shows. I may still need earplugs as well, but it would be better than either being convulsed in a corner or at home. 

I am known for my willingness to compromise. Ahem. 

I am prepared to consider the option. I have no idea if I can find something to work but I will ponder the idea. It may work. You never know. 

Another 2.10am thinking session much more recently, as in this morning, focussed on the advisability of erecting the new shed-in-a-box until after the tail of the Bermuda hurricane passes on Tuesday. I have visions of the new shed-in-a-box flying over the fence, even with the world's heaviest toolbox anchoring it down. I need to think about that in the next couple of hours before my children decide to construct it anyway. 

Words come easily when the darkness is deepest. Maybe it is because of the silence, the obliteration of the incessant noise of modern day life. There is so much truth in the need to seek, and indeed, to welcome, silence. And to learn to quiet the brain. For me, the early hours seem to work best, even though this is not by choice, of course. Only a lunatic would think making an appointment with oneself to think at 2am was in any way sensible or reasonable. 

Words = thoughts. Ideas. Stories.  

At 2.15am, I always have a plethora of stories to tell. The detail is perfect. The idea rock solid. And then I fall asleep and when I wake I can barely remember my name, never mind the intricacies of the story I wrote in my head at 2whatever. 
Sigh. 
I do remember the bank page. And the words forming. They say just write anything, anything, and in time, the story will emerge. 

That is one of the reasons I have always loved blogging here. I am able to say what I want to say. I use my own life to illustrate things, as well as I can. We are all individuals. We all have preferences, ideals, ideas, dreams, loyalties, viewpoints, experiences of our own, no two the same. We all have our own story to tell. 

You cannot know how or why I am who I am here any more than I can do the same for you. I choose how much I share. There may be many words, but a very high percentage of Linds is not to be found here. 

And that is where there is a very big problem for many bloggers, who have not got a business plan in their pocket, but the dream of creating something which may in time to come, be something our children can look back on and see their parent. 
Mother, in my case. Me. 

I would love to create a memoir for them, but cannot here in an open forum, so other options have to be considered. (I am on an "other option" learning curve, it seems, see the wheelchair above.) 

At 2am, there always seems to be oceans of time to spare. 
The reality comes with dawn, of course. 


And now, I am going to go and relax with my crochet hook and a cup of coffee. And just enjoy time without any hurry. 
Have a lovely Sunday. 

image


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Soapbox time here - we discuss the words "dreaded pop-in".............


Hello, everyone - the weekend has arrived and with it some grey skies. So warm though.

image

The tree at the top of the road has just remembered that Autumn is here. I have not edited the photo in anyway - straight out of the phone. The colours are just breathtaking against the blue sky, aren't they? 

image

In a few days, it could be even more spectacular. I will be watching it closely. Well, I have to pass it whenever I go anywhere at all, so that is a no-brainer. The beauty of mobile phones means that cameras are always with us. I remember days (about a year ago) (that makes us all sound ancient - in the good old days....last year) when I saw a spectacular sunset and had to rush home for the camera but then, so help me, the sun had gone by the time I got back to photograph it. Now there is no excuse. 

image

Just gorgeous. 

image

Yes. I was standing in the middle of the road but there was no traffic at that moment. None at all. And i had my stick so drivers would have thought I was a doddery old soul pottering across the road and slowed down. Maybe. 
But I was FINE. 

image

And looking up to my left from the middle of the road vantage point, is the church on the hill. Leaves are starting to fall. 

I had just been to the hairdresser to have my hair washed and dried. I have this amazing gift token which I received for my birthday and I can go and have my hair washed as and when I need to until it runs out. Having to avoid the soap and water in the eye thing means that this is a total delight. And one of my favourite things to do. I LOVE having my hair done. 

Photo on 16-10-2014 at 12.22

And I can never ever get it to look as nice when I do it myself. My little hairdresser is a star.

image

Another photo. So very beautiful. 

And now we get to the Soapbox time. 

I read a post on Blogher yesterday about Pop-ins. And then I read the comments, and I was absolutely staggered at the number of people who loathed what they termed pop-ins. Even the photo used to illustrate the article was negative, in my humble opinion. Hang on, let me find the link for you, so you can see for yourself.......


There you go. 
I come from a culture where popping in was the norm. Let me refine that a little.  Illustrate it.

When we lived in Cape Town, our home was around the corner from my son's prep school. So, because parking is always a nightmare at schools, all my friends used to park at my home and pop in for tea while they waited for the boys. This may have been for hours if there happened to be after school activities. It was hilarious. The boys used to wander around as and when they felt like coming home, and their mothers would trundle off after they had all had refreshments and played a bit. My house was like Grand Central Station. In fact, a neighbour thought I ran an after school childcare place. I loved every minute. Sometimes, we decided to pile everyone into a couple of people carriers and head for the beach with a picnic supper, and the men would meet us there from work. Life happened spontaneously. And those, people, are the memories which linger. 

 Popping in was something everyone I knew did until I arrived in the UK and discovered that the door never flew open, the bell never rang, and the house was eerily silent most days. So then I set about encouraging friends to pop in whenever they were passing, if they needed company, if they wanted to show someone something, needed advice, whatever. And slowly, over the last 24 years, I have conquered their fear and now the door flies open, the bell rings and all is right with the world. 

I have been known to greet friends with a shopping bag on the head, while painting. I have been covered with flour while baking. Mud when gardening. I even have a little sign I made which I hang on the window at the front door if I am out in the back garden and can't hear the bell. In fact I also bought a bell with extra speakers so I COULD hear it outside too. 

image

I have just noticed that my daisy is dead. I will have to fix or replace her. Oops. But you can see the little sign. 
It works. 

You see, I really love having people pop in. They know where the kettle, the supplies and the mugs are. If I am in the middle of something I can't stop, they can make the coffee/tea, and watch or help. They can pull up a chair or stool, or perch on the counter as I finish putting a cake together. They can grab a paintbrush if they want to. It is all about doing life together. 

Yes, there are, of course, times when it is not convenient. The mood is black. The pain is too high. But then, you see, my friends can step in and help too. And yell at me for not telling them they were needed sooner. 

Nothing saddens me more than the reports of people lying dead in their homes for weeks before being discovered. 

Most of the people commenting on that post were, I think, younger than me. I know that privacy is important. I know that independence is good. I understand the need to not interfere. I know people work from home. 

One of my closest friends worked from home when the kiddies were in Junior school. I used to drop my children, and pop in then, at about 8.45 for a cup of coffee. And you know, I was gone by 9 because I knew she started work then, and she loved me having coffee with her before our day got started. Just because you pop in, does not have to mean you stay forever. 10 minutes, half an hour. But as long as you need sometimes. Because there are always those times when you need to be with people. Or they need to be with you. 

Time marches on, though. Inexorably. And here I am, 60 years old. A granny, mum, friend, daughter, sister, whatever. Also a widow. And let me just say here loud and clear, that loneliness is horrendous. Choosing to be alone is a totally different thing. Loneliness is the pits. 

I am so very thankful that my friends all know they are welcome here without announcement. There is always room to pull up another chair, introduce friends to each other, extend the circle, which in turn becomes my community. My people. My world. And it is not confined by four walls. 

Walls can protect. They can also be bad.

What if I had spent my adult life pulling up the drawbridges, building the fences higher, encasing myself and my family in a tiny private world? What if then the children left, as they all have to do? What if then my husband left, either voluntarily or involuntarily? I would be like Rapunzel, but with greyer hair, stuck in my tower, all alone. 

How do you learn to open up, to invite people in, when you are older with a lifetime of keeping them at bay as your only experience? We cannot control when we interact. Life does not have an "off" or "silent" switch. 

I cannot emphasise more emphatically that you reap what you sow. A welcome begets a welcome. Friendship is not supposed to be restricted to times when it fits into your busy schedule. Or to when it suits you. Neither is family. 

Life is messy. It overflows from one place to another, and all those little barriers get swept aside. 

I am high up on my soapbox, people. I want to be striding up and down in front of ALL of you right now, telling, warning, encouraging you all to please listen and believe me when I say open up those doors. Open up those lives. Encourage people to pour through your doors. The kettle can always be filled. What are you demonstrating to your children?  Welcome?

Because I need to drop the soaring blood pressure at this exact moment because I am in a right royal tizz here in Middle England, I want to tell you briefly about a friend of mine back when we were roughly your ages. 30s. Only she was younger. Late 20s perhaps. 

It was approaching winter, and a busy time both at home, at schools, at work, wherever. I was a SAHM, and into the December baking frenzy. I always give baked things as gifts. And my young friend arrived on the doorstep after dropping her son at school, toddler in tow. In tears. I ushered her in, held her as she wept while the toddler headed for the toys he knew were there, and settled happily. In the course of that morning, I learned that it was the anniversary of the death of another child she had given birth to years before and lost to SIDS. That she just wanted to die too, her pain was so immense, and that she was frightened of being alone. She didn't need to talk or have me hovering. So she curled up in an armchair in the corner and I carried on baking. I made tea and coffee as I baked, I chatted from the kitchen now and then. I called her husband to let him know what was happening, and I arranged for another friend to collect all our boys from school. She stayed there and I kept watch all day. 

By evening time, she was calm and back in control. All she had needed was somewhere she was welcome. Where she knew she could go and that she could stay as long as necessary. 

I am honoured to this day, that she chose me. 

(She was and is fine, by the way - and her sons are now grown - 2 lovely young men.)

Anyone popping in to visit me is ALWAYS welcome. And I will always pop in too - people around here have learned to welcome me!

Please do just one thing - think about it. How does welcoming a stranger to your table fit in with the "dreaded pop-in" idea? 




Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday morning shed watch......

I was up and dressed at an early hour this morning, just in case the shed arrived at dawn. I was AMAZED when we found out that they could deliver today, and even more delighted to find out that delivery was free. I can't understand why we thought cramming it into the car was an option at all. AND don't forget the over 60 thing as well.

Wednesdays are great when you get older. More mature.

So we have acquired the shed. And it will soon be here. Today.

While we were processing the order, we saw a box full of red things which turned out to be flood defences. Great worms you fill with water which then act as a flood barrier. We felt the need to acquire one of those too. Not for me. For my sister, who has known the devastation of house flooding personally. I think she made need more than one packet should the unthinkable happen and the reinforced flood prevention measures ever fail again.

image


I suspect there will be many people happy to buy anything which may slow down the water here after last winter. Here being the UK. Last winter was the year of water. Flooding. Disaster for so many. Rivers hadn't been dredged, homes had been built on flood plains, the water had nowhere to go at all. The Thames in flood was awful. But I live at the top of a hill and flooding is unlikely here.

Short time lapse to welcome the arrival of the new radiator. Third time lucky. I must send a text to the plumber. This one will work properly. She says through gritted teeth thinking of the new carpets and water and towels and hysteria.

I will go and have my hair done.

Calm.

I will leave you with images of my new best friend. 

A cat. 

I do not know where it lives, or who its human is, but I am very happy to have it visit.

image

And sit like a sphinx on top of the fence, eyeing the woodpile on the other side, and my garden on this side, for rodents. Rodents and I are not fond of each other, as you will remember. So having a watchman up there is very exciting indeed. In fact, I am sure my new shed roof will make a much more comfortable perch than that post....... 

image

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sheds and such like.......

Good morning, all you lovely people......

So I have been spending most of my time here at home. Friends have popped in regularly, and it has been great to catch up individually, and also just enjoy the company. I thought I would do more crocheting, but that has slowed a bit, although the wool supply has been replenished. Not that there was any dire lack of it, you understand. That was the downside of relatively forced inactivity. The ease of online shopping. Such a blessing in so many respects. And a curse in others.

Getting the house prepared for crutches and a knee scooter has occupied more time. That brings mrs to today's adventure.

I am off to order or buy, if it fits in the car, a shed.

A plastic one. I have read through gazillions of reviews of tiny sheds, and, given that I cannot expand this house any more, or find more accessible storage space, or magically acquire a garage, I am buying a shed. A plastic one, as I said. Re-inforced with steel, I hasten to add.

The reviews are good, and everyone has managed to self construct without disaster. I saw one already built at a local store, and the manager of the department offered it to me as it was, for a great price. However, the crane I would require to lift it over the entire house, would cost more that 50 sheds, so I had to very reluctantly decline.

No. We will put it together. Well, let's be real here - David and Diana will construct it. David is the brawn and Diana the construction whizz. She has put so many Ikea pieces together, nothing phases her any more. I am quite sure David is just as able, but in this case, holding it together while she fixes screws is more important.

Where it will go is up for discussion at the moment. Right now, it could go anywhere, and then we could move it in the summer next year, to a permanent home. However, I suspect I may have the wrong idea re the word "plastic". It is not going to be that easy to lift and reposition. So I may need to think about that.

We will make a plan.

The story of my life.



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Eyes.......

Since I last appeared here on screen, I have led an eventful life. 

Last Tuesday, I was in bed, minding my own business at 7 am, about to listen to the news. It was warm and cosy and snuggly, and I had a day of stuff planned. Like aquazumba. And then I heard the news announcer say "Here is the news for Tuesday 7th October..."

7th October?

Tuesday?

No..... Wednesday is supposed to be the 7th October.

So I grabbed the phone. The newsreader was right. 

Well.

Cue Linds bolting out of bed as fast as possible, bed clothes flying, screeching, "Diana wake up! Wake Up! We are late!"

Panicked slithering down the stairs while throwing on clothes. I tried to call the hospital, but no-one answered the phone, so we leapt into the car and roared off.

We arrived at 7.30, and presented ourselves at the reception desk for the day surgery ward, and the consultant in the corner said - "But you are only due in by 12 noon." 

Oh, give me strength. 

I had spent the previous month dithering about whether or not to have the cataract op I was scheduled to have. So many other factors to consider, including the orthopaedic op Diana is about to have, other medical appointments, the increased level of CRPS due to the dithering and stress, more medical matters to consider and appointments stacking up as well, not being able to drive, graduation, Mum, Sister, house, the lot. 

And it was getting worse by the day. The dithering. 

I wanted it all to go away. To cancel it. Actually, it would have been great if some medical power had just said "We will do it in a year's time." Or something. 

They didn't. 

So we came home, and Diana suggested I have my hair done because afterwards would be rather tricky, avoiding the bending forward or water in the eye scenario. So I spent the morning happily having the hair coiffed. 

By midday, I was back in the eye unit with all the other octogenarians. Seriously. Everyone was old and doddery. Oh, wait.......

After the eye dilating drops, I hauled out the latest ripple blanket for my footstool for Autumn (next year), and rippled away for 3 and a half hours. I was starving. So was Diana, who was in another hospital building, having her pre-op assessment at the same time. We should have had lunch. 

I was last in, and JUST on the point of getting up, announcing that I had changed my mind, and departing when they came to call me. Actually, the rather large male nurse and ditto anaesthetist came to collect me. I suspect running away was futile at that point, so I was as good as gold, and ended up on the slab operating table for the eye paralysis thingy. Not pleasant, but survivable. 

The not survivable thing was the fact that the nurses, surgeon, whoever, did not place and seal the blue jay cloth sheet over my face correctly. There was no seal. So, when they started the procedure, for which there is constant pouring of liquid of some sort, for a full 20-30minutes, it poured down my face, into my ear and into a puddle closely resembling a swamp under my head. 

You hold the hand of a nurse for the duration of the op, and if you need to cough or speak or move, you squeeze the hand. So I squeezed. "She squeezed" said the nurse. They stopped. I asked if it was normal to have liquid bubbling out of my ear and to be lying in a puddle. Oops, they said, and carried on. Exactly the same way as before. 

I got more furious by the second. And yes, I do know, and I said as much to the staff afterwards - that it was totally irrational to be so enraged about the fact that my hair and top were drenched with unknown fluid, and that the nurse had to wring the water out of my hair when I sat up. And I was absolutely thankful that I had a new lens and would be able to see better. I can say that the nurse and anaesthetist afterwards were lovely. They said it shouldn't have happened, that it doesn't happen as a rule. And that a rolled up towel would have solved the problem. 

So, by the time Diana came to collect me, I had calmed down about 1 degree (is there a degree symbol for this keyboard?) and I had a cup of coffee and a couple of biscuits to eat (tiny cookies), so we left with a list of instructions. She, the gem, had a sandwich waiting in the car for me. Bliss. 

Anyway, the fury subsided once hunger was abated, and a redo of the hair on the following morning solved the scarecrow look. 

Sleeping with a plastic eye patch is different. The pirate look is not really foe me. Only for 10 days, though. 

So. This past week, I have tried, and failed to follow the rules. No heavy lifting. No garden. No allotment. No dirty environment. No rubbing of eyes. 

Seriously, I try. Take last Thursday for example. The wind was blowing and I heard some crashing about. The water butt in the front drive had blown over and was heading for the road, so I went and retrieved it. And its lid. Then I went to get a couple of buckets of water to pour into it and anchor it down. Heavy. While I was waiting in the garden for the bucket to fill, I noticed some ripe tomatoes, which I went to pick. And then I realised that I had broken all the rules, so rushed back inside, and scrubbed ten layers off the hands to kill germs. 

And sat down in the chair and twiddled my thumbs. Got tired, so rubbed my eyes. 

I am beyond hope, people. Nothing was intentional. All instinct. I need to wear that patch 24 hours. And to have my hands tied behind my back. Or immobilised somehow. My eye is coping so far. Thank the Good Lord. 

So we have drops to drop in. Well, when you do your own, you miss 2 then get one to hit the target. I will be going through a couple of bottles at this rate. 4 a day for a week, then 3, then 2 then 1. Hah. It will be a miracle if the bottle lasts much longer.

Diana has been my chauffeur when needed, and I will be driving again soon. It is amazing how much clearer the world is once the cataract is gone. However, my left eye is struggling to build new neural pathways, and is trying to compensate for the "lost" eye, and this is taking a little time.  Balance is also begin re-calibrated. That will be a CRPS issue. We will get there. New glasses in 5 weeks now. 

Anyway. Right now, Diana should be having the op on her leg, but it was postponed late yesterday afternoon, and we have no idea when it will be rescheduled. The not knowing is a really rough thing for her. She was all geared up for today. This family could do without hospitals featuring front and centre for a while. 

That misbehaving radiator? It will have to be replaced. Again. 


Monday, October 06, 2014

Little bits about a lot of things............

Hello, my friends - it is October, and I only just noticed......

image


I have been laminating paper to keep track of yarn colours and names. Do not ask. It makes me look efficient for today. Tomorrow is another story. I cannot claim the idea for myself either - I found it on the net - at  Look at what I made.  Dedri is a delight - pause a bit and wander round her blog. She is from the Western Cape too. South Africa. Organise Your Yarn Stash is her brilliant idea. I just hope my efforts continue, because I can see it all getting lost in a couple of weeks, but I have excellent intentions.

image

I have just finished my V stitch blanket. I started it ages ago, but we are going slow around here. This is a present for my sister. (She told me the colours matched her summer colours, so I  will be delighted to give it to her. Soon.) 

image

We are about to embark on more medical marvels. I am supposed to have a cataract removed on Wednesday and Diana is having her big leg op next week. We do like to keep medical people on their toes around here. I have been so tempted to cancel the cataract for a while, but who knows when I would ever get another appointment. Winter is approaching at last - for the first time this Autumn, it is cold today.

image
This robin followed me around the allotment a couple of weeks ago, as I gather gem squash. A bumper harvest this year!
The heating is on as I speak. This is such a new feeling! As Diana said a moment ago, "It is cold outside and warm inside - this is strange. Very strange. " 

It is indeed. The new tall radiator is being a little undo-operative. The plumber is due to make yet another return visit soon. Later. Today, I hope. I am sure he will just tweak something and get it to work. Right now we have two out of 20 tall cylinders heating up. I am not thrilled. 18 inactive ones do not suit.

So there has been a little organising of things going on. Trying to get the house ready for things like more crutches, the push along scooter, etc. And trying to rationalise furniture, and space and stuff, and in this house, that is an impossible equation. Add attitude and ideals and traditions and taste to the mix and the maths is out of control.

image



However, we have now got a seating arrangement in the kitchen/family room, to suit the entire family. And it is warm in there which is a plus. The yarn is out of boxes and in a neat storage unit. Ikea is a godsend. The Ikea designers are, rather. Genius. The new sofa converts to a very comfortable sofa-bed as well, which is also very useful.
 We are still waiting for a friend to come and finish doing all the electrical stuff, and put up the new lights and I must order the new oven, but I have things like hospitals and graduations and planes to consider instead. Nothing is urgent. Lights, maybe, but we can see. 

 My ladies are back at the library on Friday afternoons - they are so much fun, you know. There is no way you can be sitting at that table without grinning. We do laugh. There is not much teaching, I confess, but who cares. We have a good time. The iPad will be conquered. Right now, we are ignoring updates, because dear Lord, I may need a miracle or two to get them sorted. iGoogle is on the agenda for this week. Or Siri. I will tell them to announce that they love him. That should keep us busy for hours.

 So tell me - what have you been up to? For the first time in the last decade or more, I have not changed the house to Autumn. I ran out of energy. We will skip straight to Winter in December. I have to say I do miss it, though. The younger members of the family do not. Sigh.

 I made a spur of the moment trip down to London to see my son last week. Just because Ifelt like a drive. The roads were clear and I kept going. It was lovely to spend a couple of hours with him, catching up. I do want to go down for a few days and see the poppies at the tower. Here is the link to the website. It is just amazing.

I will have to go soon.

image



Another wonderful event was when I surprised a blogging friend, Britt-Arnhild on her visit to Turvey Abbey, not far from here. I knew she was going to be there, and we sort of made vague arrangements, but I hadn't heard anything, so decided to find her. And I walked in on her lunch. We had never met before, though we had spoken once on a visit she made to London. So it was a delight to get to know her in real life. We took a slow walk in the garden of the Abbey, and then visited Emmaus for tea. And cake.  I now have a delightful friend in Norway, and after nearly a decade of blogging, the real life meetings just keep amazing me. I have been so very lucky to have met such lovely people over the years.

I know that this post has been all over the place. My head is also all over the place. Slowly, though, we are getting sorted, although I could absolutely do without all the medical stuff. However, my home is warm. And I could not be happier about that at least. My bathroom is also the most gorgeous thing I have ever seen. My yarn is getting listed. See? Good stuff all round. 

I will be back......

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The sun still shines and we chat about blessings.......

image

Good morning all!

Do you need to know that I am allergic to the washing machine? Maybe not. The spin cycle has become mega unpleasant. It is the small stuff, people, the small stuff. 

On to other stuff now. I did not edit the above photo. 
The skies are that blue today, and the sun is out, although not tropical. This September has been very warm. The leaves, though, are starting to turn, and as it is now officially Autumn, this should not surprise one. It is all a plot, you see. I have this super efficient heating system now and it is too warm for it to burst into life. The plus side is the fiscal reward, though! 

There is a great deal to sort in the garden. So much to cut down or back and yet so much is still in flower, albeit a little ragged. Do I pull out the colour? Hmmm. The dahlias, though, are in full bloom, and we have no shortage of flowers around here. I look at them and think, right, which colours are missing? I must make a list for the sales next year, and then I forget where the list is and the next year we have the same conversation with ourselves. 

We really do not need any more plants in the beds. They are officially full, and I have another 6 small lavender plants which will need replanting one day as well. I love having plants with a beautiful scent around me. 

The attempt to maximise the use of space in the house continues. The problem is the size of the rooms. They are so small ( a very common British problem), that just put in a bed and a chest of drawers and the room is full. I was reading a thread on sewing machines on Facebook last night, and the talk turned to the size of the sewing room. Well, the original post was about a new custom built sewing table 6ft by 8ft. And I grinned, because there is a small bedroom in this house that size and all three of my children have used it at one stage or another, as they have grown up. And loved it too. And then someone commented that she was envious because she had to squash her stuff into a sewing room measuring 12ft by 14ft. 

There is not a bedroom in this house that size. 

In fact, that would class as a humongous room here by most people. 

It is all relative, isn't it - this may be small, but it has been our home for over 24 years. HOME. People come here. The welcome is always warm. Small is not bad. 

 AND the new carpets and bathroom are the first in all those years too. We make the best of whatever there is, it is ours, and so help me, my gratitude is truly unending. 

It really is. Small is just fine. 
(Caveat: I do dream of more storage space though! There is nothing wrong with dreams.)

And now onto another thought regarding gratitude. Thankfulness. 

There is a trend at the moment for people to say "I am so blessed". "We are very blessed." "We are thankful for our many blessings." Maybe not a trend, but it somehow seems to be so much more present right now in a secular sense. I am delighted that many blessings have poured out onto everyone. However, there is a correlation, and that is that, should those things NOT be happening in your life in a secular sense, then you must not be as good as / not be as favoured / have done something wrong. Or that is how it can be, and is perceived at times. 

I am very blessed. 

"I am very blessed" sounds as though Someone has blessed me, and I happily receive those blessings, of course, and my life is indeed filled with multiple blessings, of a different kind. But would it not be better to say "I am very thankful" when referring to secular things? 

"We have been blessed with a beautiful home."

"I have been blessed with a wonderful husband."

"We have been blessed with amazing jobs."

Hmmm. 

I go one step further. 

"I am blessed with good health." 

Right. So what does that do to people with health challenges? 

Me?

""We have been blessed with 3 children"

Think about it. 

We are, or should be very thankful for these things. 

Very, very thankful. 

There are so many other examples, believe me. Thinking through them is just so important. We are thankful. We are filled with thanks for... We are so grateful. 

I do not take the innumerable blessings in my life for granted. The good, the bad - one day they will all be understood as blessings, I am sure. It is just that my heart aches when words aren't thought through clearly. My life is full of blessings. I have indeed been very blessed. Not with or by dishwashers, although I am very fond of mine. But by so much more, which happens to include my home, the people in it, community I live in, family, friends, church, love....the list is endless. 

Anyway. Just a little something to think about. 

Aquazumba, here I come. I am so thankful for aquazum...........

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Kingdom is still United......

Well, the Kingdom is still united. And the world is still on its axis. But 45% of the people of Scotland voted to sever ties. Just 400 000 difference between the votes. That is nothing.

However, the greatest success of the referendum was the way the electorate was engaged. More than ever before in British Electoral history, the people were active, had an opinion, and got up and voted. In some areas, the turnout was over 90% and the Universal Suffrage records of 1918 have been broken.

This marks a weather change in British politics. Or rather, I hope it does. Apathy is deadly. One cannot expect change if the electorate is apathetic, and the Scots were anything but. The Westminster crowd were horribly shaken, as well they should have been.  Martin Lewis, a well known financial commentator, remarked this morning that the federation cannot be far away. And he suggested that  The United States of the Kingdom could be coming. Instead of The United Kingdom.

Hilarious. 

I just hope the tremors which ran through the country continue and that DevoMax happens soon, that The Vow is honoured and that they apply all of these fancy things to the rest of the country too. As in Us.

Otherwise I will have to migrate North.

I happened to be awake at 3AM (please note) when the results started rolling in, and I was lying there in bed quite happily until 5am watching it all, when the peace was shattered by our fire alarm going off in emergency mode outside my bedroom door. I hurtled out of bed to look for the fire, because we all know that fire alarms and evacuation plans start with "run around the house looking for flames". Epic fail on all the fire drill practices. David never emerged from his room (he said he could hear that we were alive) while Diana searched the downstairs for flames too, after leaving the deck at tremendous speed.

We couldn't find any flames, so went back to bed.

And not 10 minutes ago, Diana suggested we check what the 3 long beeps repeating meant, so I googled it and it said Real Alarm.

Right.

Fortunately, not 2 doors down the road, we have a fireman in residence. This is very useful. I popped out and asked him what the problem could be, as the fire brigade had fitted the alarms here last year, and he brought a replacement round and fitted it for us. He did sort of roll the eyes when I mentioned that no-one had attempted to vacate the building. Oh well. He lives close enough for me to screech for out the window.

So, apart from momentous political shenanigans and screeching alarms, what else do I have to report from Middle England......... Diana has finished painting the kitchen. This has been a herculean task, as the roof is high and there are rafters etc. She has done a wonderful job and once all the furniture is repositioned and the contents of the house are reassessed and rearranged (please note all the "re"s), we should be entering a slightly quieter time. That would be for about a week or so before she has her op next month and crutches become the mode of transport here again. There is also the oven I need to sort. I will. Soon. And the tiles. The step. The......


I love my carpets. 
image

I cannot tell you how warm and big and lovely the room looks now.

image

For the first time in my life, we are removing shoes at the door. I cannot believe I said that. It is not a South African thing at all. In fact, it would be regarded as very bad manners to remove shoes. And very bad hosting to expect it. But I have joined the ranks. It may just be for a short while, but still.....

image

Carpets are just things. I know. But I can see the beautiful and enjoy it too. 

Happy weekend to you all!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The question over Scotland................

Today's post is political because momentous things happen when a country gets to vote whether or not to leave the Kingdom. I will not be at all offended if you skip on to the next blog! Linds

Today is the day that the future of the United Kingdom hangs in balance. It is really quite surreal, because the TV has been full of the referendum talk for weeks and today, there is silence, because legally, they cannot be seen to influence in either direction. This noble idea may have been around forever, but it is the first time I have noticed it. 

So, the news is about everything except what is happening north of the border. Until 9 pm tonight, and then, throughout the night and into tomorrow and possibly forever, the talk will be about how Scotland voted. And the consequences for both Scotland and for the whole of the UK. Not so much United, should they vote to leave. 

Someone suggested that we would have to become rUK - Rest of UK. 

Right now, I think it could go either way. And, should Scotland vote to leave, everything changes. Should they vote to stay, the government will have to make good on all those carrots waved to induce co-operation. 

You see, it is not as straightforward as it may seem. Our politicians tend to think the UK consists of everything within the M25, aka London, and that the rest of the country is populated by village people who are not very bright. Simple. Lazy. Workshy. 

I am quite unashamedly stating what I see as fact today. 

Not one politician even considered for a second that the Yes vote may just win. Supreme complacency. The No vote didn't even have a real face or agenda until recent weeks. However, things changed last week when the polls suddenly had the Yes vote in the lead and in an instant, all panic stations were fully manned. But, by the very politicians who caused the "distance from London = forgotten badlands" idea in the first place, so I suspect that didn't go down too well. 

Should the No vote win, the political future of the top politicians will be on very shaky ground. Only there is no-one looming in the shadows ready to take over, apart from Boris, of course. Boris is the Mayor of London. No politician would want to dissolution of the Kingdom to be on his watch. Nor would I want to  be Mr Cameron at the next audience with the Queen, should that happen. 

And if the Yes vote wins, I just wonder how the government is going to keep the rest of the UK intact. Wales. Northern Ireland. Cornwall. Even Yorkshire, could be next. 

A win by the No vote means making good on all those hasty promises. That is going to be difficult. 

Interesting times. 

The other epic challenge will be how to reconcile the Scottish people after today, because no matter which side wins, and passions are very very high today, when the country is split 50/50, it will not be simple to restore balance. 

And could it ever be the same? 

Tomorrow will bring the answers.